Teen Killed After Accidentally Entering Neighbor's Home

Caleb Gordley was trying to sneak in after party, but picked wrong house

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 19, 2013 11:52 AM CDT

(Newser) – A Virginia neighborhood is grappling with the "ultimate tragedy": the death of a 16-year-old boy killed by a homeowner when he accidentally entered the wrong house early Sunday—one just two doors down from his own. Caleb Gordley was grounded for not cleaning his room but sneaked out Saturday night to go to a party, reports the Washington Post. He then had to sneak back in, so his friends helped him climb in through a back window. But he'd been drinking and picked the wrong house, which looked similar to his own. When the burglar alarm went off, the homeowner found Gordley on the stairs. He says he warned the teen to leave and fired a warning shot, but when Gordley didn't stop, the homeowner shot and killed him, an official says.

"They have the exact same staircase as us, the exact same carpet. Caleb clearly thought he was in his own house," says the boy's father. "He probably stumbled around and was just trying to go to his room." Friends and family say Gordley wasn't a troublemaker, but an athlete with many friends who typically obeyed his parents and did well in school; in a statement the family acknowledges he made a tragic "mistake." Locals say the homeowner is a good neighbor and a longtime volunteer firefighter, and friends add that the two families were barely acquainted. No charges have been filed, and the Post notes that Virginia legal precedent is on the homeowner's side.

Shawn Gordley, left, and Jennea Gordley, center, parents of Caleb Gordley, talk to members of the media outside their home in Sterling, Va., Tuesday, March 19, 2013.
Shawn Gordley, left, and Jennea Gordley, center, parents of Caleb Gordley, talk to members of the media outside their home in Sterling, Va., Tuesday, March 19, 2013.   (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)
Family members hold photos of Caleb Gordley, as family and friends of Caleb Gordley talk to members of the media outside their home in Sterling, Va., Tuesday, March 19, 2013.
Family members hold photos of Caleb Gordley, as family and friends of Caleb Gordley talk to members of the media outside their home in Sterling, Va., Tuesday, March 19, 2013.   (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)
« Prev« Prev | Next »Next » Slideshow
My TakeCLICK BELOW TO VOTE
6%
2%
76%
4%
6%
5%
To report an error on this story, notify our editors.

NEWS FROM OUR PARTNERS
Other Sites We Like:   The Street   |   24/7 Wall St.   |   BuzzFeed   |   Cracked   |   World History Project   |   POPSUGAR Tech   |   Business Insider   |   HuffPost Entertainment