Ever hear of Bryce Dejean-Jones? Until about 3:30 Saturday morning, he was a guard for the New Orleans Pelicans, a guy who worked his way up from the NBA Development League and appeared in 14 games before suffering a broken wrist. Now he is in the Dallas morgue, his life ended before his 24th birthday.
From the police statement: “Upon arrival officers found one individual had been shot. The resident of the apartment reported that an individual had kicked open the front door and entered the apartment. The resident, who was asleep in the bedroom, heard the individual enter and retrieved a handgun. He stated he called out to the individual, but was not answered. As the individual kicked the bedroom door, the resident fired his gun. The individual left the apartment and collapsed in the breezeway. The individual was transported to a local hospital where he died from his injuries.”
CNN.com filled in some of the blanks: “The basketball player’s agent, Scott Nichols, said Dejean-Jones was in Dallas to visit his girlfriend for his daughter’s first birthday. This was the first time Dejean-Jones visited her new apartment, Nichols said. Later that night Dejean-Jones came back to the apartment complex but went to the wrong unit on the third floor, just below his girlfriend’s fourth-floor apartment, Nichols said.”
Other accounts have called that girlfriend an “estranged acquaintance” and quoted the agent as saying his client “was in the wrong place at the wrong time.” Perhaps Dejean-Jones was angry and kicked the door in because he thought his baby’s mama had locked him out. (He played for three colleges, leaving one because he broke a teammate’s nose; there had been other incidents and scrapes with the law.) Perhaps Dejean-Jones was high on something; toxicology reports will sort that out, slowly.
This unfortunate tale has generated reactions of shock and sorrow and best wishes for the mother and 1-year-old. I concur. It has also elicited the usual hopeful speculation from bleeding hearts about whether the unfortunate apartment owner, who did nothing but protect himself from a threat on his premises, should somehow be charged with a crime.
Texas law is fairly specific. An individual is entitled to use deadly force when they feel threatened in their home. In recent years, that right has been extended to anyplace a person “has the right to be.” According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 22 states (including Texas) have laws saying persons feeling threatened have no duty to retreat.
In other words, case closed.