Prosecutors in South Carolina have decided not to file charges against the man who killed Nicholas Anthony Donofrio, a college student who was shot while attempting to enter a home thinking it was his own.
Police say Donofrio, a 20-year-old University of South Carolina student from Connecticut, was shot and killed by a neighbor early Sunday morning while he was mistakenly attempting to enter the wrong home.
After failing to open the front door and repeatedly banging on it, Donofrio, who lived in a different house on the same street, allegedly smashed a window near the front door, reached inside the house and attempted to grab the door knob, according to Columbia police.
A female resident then called 911 while a man went to retrieve a firearm from another area of the home before allegedly firing a single shot through the broken window which struck Donofrio in the upper body, according to police.
The police determined the man—whose identity hasn’t been released by police—owned the firearm legally for the purpose of personal and home protection and have deemed the incident as “a justifiable homicide” under the Protection of Persons and Property Act, according to a statement from the local prosecutor’s office and Columbia Police Department.
The police department said it is awaiting a toxicology report to determine if Donofrio was impaired.
The deceased’s parents, Lue and Diana Donofrio, told WTNH they are “heartbroken and in disbelief” about the tragedy and described the young man as “a great son, loving, compassionate, all the traits you would want in a son.”
This is one of several high profile shootings of children and young adults who accidentally approached the wrong home this year. In April, 86-year-old Andrew Lester, of Kansas City, Missouri, allegedly shot 16-year-old Ralph Yarl after the teenager accidentally knocked on the door of the wrong house, which he thought was the home he was supposed to pick up his siblings from. Yarl survived but with a traumatic brain injury, and Lester has been charged with and pleaded not guilty to first-degree assault and armed criminal action. That same month, 65-year-old Kevin Monahan allegedly opened fire on a group of young adults who had mistakenly driven to the wrong home, including 20-year-old Kaylin Gillis, who died as a result of the incident.
Ralph Yarl Shooting: Andrew Lester Pleads Not Guilty To Assault (Forbes)