TABOR CITY, NC (WWAY) — The Columbus County District Attorney’s Office has determined that a homeowner was justified when he shot and killed a man in his home.
Cameron Green was shot and killed in a home on Miller Road on April 21.
“After consultation with our law enforcement partners with the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office and a review of all available evidence, including witness statements, photographs, and video surveillance footage of the home and local businesses, it has been determined that Carlton Fidler was legally justified in using deadly force under the “defense of habitation” doctrine,” the news release from District Attorney Jon David stated.
Just after 2:00 pm on April 21, Carlton Fidler arrived at his home off of Miller Road in Tabor City.
As Fidler pulled into his front yard, he pulled his phone out to disable the camera system and saw a notification that the cameras had recorded a new event.
Fidler watched the recording and saw two men enter his home through a back window. Fidler proceeded to drive around his home and park, as he normally does. Fidler got out of his vehicle and saw an air conditioning unit had been removed from his home, leaving his window open.
Fidler was standing at the window and saw the two males he had seen on his security cameras in his home.
Fidler, who had a legally owned firearm on him, removed the firearm from its holster and ordered the two men in the home to raise their hands.
Fidler stated that the individuals began to move around and toward him in an aggressive manner. Fidler discharged his firearm into his home, through the open window two times.
One of the bullets struck and killed Cameron Green. The other male in the home ran off as Fidler discharged his firearm an additional three times.
He was not struck but was later caught by the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office.
Fidler called 911.
There had been numerous break-ins at Fidler’s home prior to this incident. During those prior reported break-ins in 2019, there had been at least 13 firearms that were stolen.
Fidler told law enforcement that he was concerned that these could be the same individuals and they could still have in their possession the stolen firearms. Fidler indicated that he was scared, believed that the intruders had weapons, and was unable to see the hands of the intruders during the incident.
When law enforcement arrived, they located Green deceased from a single gunshot wound. Green was located in an area of the house where Fidler kept large amounts of ammunition and firearms.
All of Fidler’s firearms were locked in a safe and secure during this incident. Law enforcement located numerous loaded magazines, belonging to Fidler, in the pockets of Green, but did not locate any other weapons.
The district attorney’s office said thanks to the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office, Fidler’s statements to investigators were substantially corroborated using surveillance footage from local businesses, security footage from Fidler’s home, mapping applications, and witness statements.
Jon David said his staff convened with the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office and determined that Fidler’s actions were justified. Under North Carolina law, “[t]he lawful occupant of a home … is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent death or serious bodily harm to himself or herself or another when using defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or serious bodily harm to another if… [t]he person who uses defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry …was occurring or had occurred.”
Further, for the purposes of this doctrine, Fidler’s residence meets the definition of “a home,” which is defined, in relevant part, as “[a] building … of any kind, to include its curtilage, … which has a roof over it … and is designed as a temporary or permanent residence.”
Mr. Fidler could not have known what Mr. Green’s intentions may have been. Further, Mr. Fidler was located in the curtilage of his own home at the time of the incident and had no duty to retreat. Therefore, Mr. Fidler’s use of deadly force was entirely reasonable under the circumstances. Mr. Fidler was entitled to use self-defense and will not be criminally charged with the death of Mr. Green.
The second intruder was identified as Keandre Graddy. Graddy was interviewed by investigators and will face charges of Felony Breaking and Entering. Graddy will not be charged in connection with the death of Cameron Green. Although allowed by some states, North Carolina law does not permit a surviving co-defendant to be charged for the death of another co-defendant if he or she is killed during the commission of a felony by a third party.
The DA and investigators met with Green’s family to explain their decision and has invited them to have their attorney review the file and investigators findings.
“Despite the fact that Mr. Green was violating the law at the time of his death, it is certainly a tragic outcome that he was shot and killed,” said District Attorney Jon David. “The District Attorney’s Office and the sheriff’s office would strongly encourage our citizens to call law-enforcement for assistance when possible rather than resort to self-help. Yet, in analyzing the situation before us, we are left to determine whether a crime has occurred, not whether the preferred procedure was utilized. In this case, the law protects Mr. Fidler’s decision to use deadly force on his property when he felt threatened by the crime which was occurring in his presence.”