What should have been a simple custody exchange turned into a deadly shooting caught on video. Did Kyle Carruth murder Chad Read, or was he simply defending himself from an unlawful use of force? Until the matter is decided by the court, there will be no definitive answer—but the existence of video recordings of the incident from two different angles has public opinion divided. A case can be made in either direction, but Kyle Carruth’s fate won’t be decided by public opinion. Ultimately, his fate—and his freedom—rests in the hands of the legal system.
Everyone can agree that having strong legal representation is crucial if faced with a similar situation in the aftermath of a shooting. However, strong legal representation can be costly. An effective legal defense in court that preserves the defendant’s physical freedom but devastates their financial freedom isn’t a win. That’s why Legal Defense for Self Defense® coverage is crucial for the well-prepared self-defender’s peace of mind.
Could Kyle Carruth Have Been Justified in Shooting Chad Read?
On November 5, 2021, Chad Read drove to the home of Kyle Carruth for a custody exchange with his ex-wife, Christina Read. In addition to dating Kyle Carruth, Christina Read was an employee of Kyle Carruth’s business that he operated out of his home. A verbal altercation ensued in Kyle Carruth’s front yard between Chad Read and Christina Read. Kyle Carruth issued verbal commands to Chad Read to leave his property. When those commands were not followed, he retrieved a firearm from inside his home and reissued those commands, now armed with a long gun.
It was at this point that Chad Read became physically and verbally aggressive. In a moment caught on video, Chad Read closed the distance between himself and Kyle Carruth. Pushing his chest against Kyle Carruth, Chad Read can be heard on video saying words to the effect of “You’d better use it or I’m going to take it from you and use it on you.” At this point, the long gun discharges into the ground at Chad Read’s feet. Chad Read then grabs Carruth’s long gun and uses it to spin and throw him off his own porch. Managing to retain his gun, Kyle Carruth raises it and fires two shots, killing Chad Read.
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Points That Could Be Made for Self-Defense
- Chad Read entered Kyle Carruth’s property, which was both his residence and place of employment, without invitation and for the purpose of causing a disturbance.
- Kyle Carruth tells Chad Read affirmatively and without qualification to leave the property, thus making Chad Read a criminal trespasser when he refuses to leave immediately.
- Kyle Carruth is allowed to use non-deadly force against a trespasser, and his display of a firearm as a use of force appears to be compliant with the language and purpose of Texas Penal Code Section 9.04.
- Due to Chad Read’s increasingly aggressive behavior and the reasonably perceived threat of unlawful force, Kyle Carruth armed himself in an act of self-defense, defense of property, and defense of a third party, Christina Read (Chad Read’s ex-wife and the initial object of Chad’s rage).
- Chad Read initiates physical contact with Kyle Carruth and aggressively states words to the effect of “You’d better shoot me with that or I’m going to take it away from you and use it on you.” This indicates that Chad Read intended to escalate the situation despite the display of the weapon as well as his intent to take Chad Read’s firearm, which constitutes the crime of robbery.
- Chad Read then initiates a strong-arm robbery by grabbing Kyle Carruth’s firearm and attempting to take it away from him, whereupon Kyle Carruth extricates himself from Chad Read’s grasp but is still within the range of immediate danger.
- Chad Read’s attempted robbery and physically aggressive behavior, coupled with the attempt to arm himself with Kyle Carruth’s stolen firearm, is a continual use or attempted use of immediate, unlawful deadly force. In response, Kyle Carruth used deadly force by shooting Chad Read.
- The attempted robbery by Chad Read gives Kyle Carruth the presumption of reasonableness under Texas Penal Code Section 9.32.
Points That Could Be Made Against Self-Defense
- Even after Chad Read becomes a trespasser, Texas law is very clear that deadly force cannot be used against a trespasser in the absence of an immediate threat to persons or property.
- Chad Read clearly stays outside and never attempts to unlawfully and forcefully enter Kyle Carruth’s habitation.
- Kyle Carruth’s long gun discharges at close range toward the feet of Chad Read, which could be perceived as a “warning shot”; warning shots are a use of deadly force, which would end Kyle Carruth’s justification under Texas Penal Code Section 9.04.
- The prosecutor will likely argue that each action of Kyle Carruth which escalated the dangerousness of the situation was an act of provocation, as that term is used in Texas Penal Code Sections 9.31 and 9.32, and thus limits Kyle Carruth’s ability to claim self-defense.
- The prosecutor might also argue that the distance between Kyle Carruth and Chad Read, at the moment Kyle Carruth fired, was too far to reasonably be considered an immediate threat as Chad Read was unarmed.
Kyle Carruth Isn’t a U.S. LawShield® Member, But He Should Have Been.
To be clear, Kyle Carruth is not a U.S. LawShield member, but he should have been. One of the founding principles that makes our nation great is that those accused of a crime are entitled to legal representation. However, having competent legal representation after a use of force incident should never come at the cost of everything you have worked your entire life to build. Knowing that U.S. LawShield membership comes with 24/7/365 emergency access to competent attorneys, no limits on attorneys’ fees for covered civil and criminal defense litigation, and access to educational resources is what gives our members the peace of mind that comes from knowing they have Legal Defense for Self Defense coverage with us.
Ultimately, it is imperative that a self-defender do everything in their power to deescalate a situation whenever possible. Using a firearm in any capacity comes with many risks and should be an option of last resort. While it is easy to imagine that any self-defense shooting you find yourself in will be clear-cut and unambiguous, the reality is that many shootings are called into question after the fact no matter how clear the facts of the case appear to an outside observer. That’s why being able to secure legal representation fast, without worrying about the cost, is so important in today’s world.
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The information provided in this publication is intended to provide general information to individuals and is not legal advice. The information included in this publication may not be quoted or referred to in any other publication without the prior written consent of U.S. LawShield, to be given or withheld at our discretion. The information is not a substitute for, and does not replace the advice or representation of a licensed attorney. We strive to ensure the information included in this publication is accurate and current, however, no claim is made to the accuracy of the information and we are not responsible for any consequences that may result from the use of information in this publication. The use of this publication does not create an attorney-client relationship between U.S. LawShield, any independent program attorney, and any individual.
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