Parents Scream Murder Over Drunk Teen Shot During Home Invasion

Jan Morgan

About the author: Jan is a nationally recognized 2nd Amendment Advocate/Speaker/ NRA Certified Firearms Instructor/ Associated Press Award winning investigative journalist/ Owner/Editor JanMorganMedia.com, Sr. Editor/Patriot Update/ Independent Constitutional Conservative. She is closely aligned with the Republican/ ... [read 's FULL BIO]

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Just imagine…. It’s the wee hours of the morning… your home alarm goes off… you grab your gun, run downstairs and see a stranger has just come through your kitchen window. You yell at the stranger to get out of your house and refuses to head your warning, then proceeds past you, heading up the staircase where your girlfriend is in bed. You fire a warning shot, yet he continues to head up the stairs. This time, you shoot him finally bringing an end to the threat.

This was the scenario that played out in a home in Sterling, Virginia. At first the parents of the drunk teen said they understood why the homeowner shot their son. Later, they changed their position and now say the shooting is murder, not self defense.

So, in the eyes of 16 year old Caleb Gordley’s parents, the homeowner should just allow this strange person to climb through his window, ignore demands to leave, and let him walk up the stairs where an unarmed female is alone in a bedroom.
I would have unloaded an entire magazine on the intruder…. He would have never made it to the staircase.
The fact that the homeowner gave him that much time to change his mind and leave the home was particularly generous in my view.

If Caleb Gordley’s parents want to do something useful in response to the death of their son, their time would be better spent educating teens about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
Taking personal responsibility for their son’s irresponsible behavior would be more of a service to him and to his peers.
Playing the blame game, looking for someone else to blame for a death that was clearly the 16 year old’s own fault will accomplish nothing.

Here are details of the shooting based on news reports:

After a night of drinking, Caleb Gordley, 16, was killed when he entered a home near his own in Sterling, Va. The homeowner believed Gordley was a burglar and fired his gun at the teen several times.

Gordley’s parents initially forgave the shooter, Donald West Wilder, but new details in the police report, released to them nearly five months after the incident, have changed their minds.

“At no point, from the homeowner’s…testimony, the account of the events, did he ever describe Caleb in any way being aggressive,” Shawn Gordley, Caleb Gordley’s father, told ABC News’ “20/20.”

An autopsy report also confirmed that Caleb Gordley died from a gunshot wound to the back.

“He shot him in the back,” Caleb Gordley’s mother, Jennea Gordley, who is divorced from his father, told “20/20.” “If you’re really in fear of danger of your life and your family’s life, why would you allow a person…that appeared to be dazed to you, walk right past you and then you shoot him in the back?”

Caleb Gordley had just been grounded for a week several days before he was killed in March 2013. The popular student-athlete and aspiring rapper was never much of a partier, but was itching to get out of the house by the end of the week. He even tweeted throughout the day saying, “Honestly who’s throwin a party tonight?!” and “Somebody make a party right now. I’m tryna to have fun tonight no lie.”

“He’s not much of a drinker, but he just wanted to try some that night,” Kory Carico, Caleb Gordley’s good friend, who was with him the night he died, told “20/20.”

At midnight on Saturday night, Caleb Gordley slipped out of his father’s upscale suburban home and headed for a friend’s house a few blocks away. For two hours, the teens tossed back vodka shots. By 2 a.m., a woozy Caleb Gordley decided it was time to go home before his dad noticed he was gone.

“He got pretty drunk,” Carico said. “I took him back to my house, and I was going to make him stay there, but…He knew he had to get home. I knew that for sure. He kept bothering us about it.”

Carico helped a seriously impaired Caleb Gordley walk home to the quiet cul-de-sac where the houses look nearly identical.

“I’ve never come in the back way before, but the houses look similar, so I figured it was his house because he thought it was his house, too,” Carico said.

Caleb Gordley climbed in through the window of the house he thought was his. “The alarm went off, and then I saw the light come on,” Carico said. “Then I heard yelling, which I thought was his dad, so I started running because I thought I was going to get in trouble.”

But it wasn’t Caleb Gordley’s house. It was the home two doors down from his own, where Donald West Wilder, 43, lives with his girlfriend. Startled, Wilder grabbed the 40-caliber pistol equipped with a laser and flashlight that he kept next to his bed, thinking a thief was breaking into his home at 2:30 a.m.

According to the police report, Shawn Gordley said, Wilder immediately saw Caleb Gordley in the kitchen area when the motion lights came on, did not recognize him, and yelled at him to get out of the house. Intoxicated, Caleb Gordley continued to walk through the home and headed towards the stairs.

“The homeowner said he made eye contact with Caleb, and there was a dazed look on his face, so he knew he was on drugs, alcohol, whatever the case may be,” Shawn Gordley said. “As he came up the steps, he said he saw no weapon, nothing like that.”

Caleb Gordley kept walking up the staircase, where Wilder’s girlfriend was sleeping upstairs. Frightened, Wilder fired one warning shot and one aimed at Caleb Gordley. “Caleb, according to a statement, turned around, didn’t attack the person shooting at him and simply said, according to the statement, ‘You just shot me,’” Shawn Gordley said. “At which point, he turned back around and proceeded to walk to what he thought was his own bedroom.”

After Caleb Gordley reached the top of the stairs, Wilder fired two or three more shots, according to the police report. One shot went through Caleb Gordley’s back, and another, which was aimed at his head, missed.

“You have a person that…actually comes in through a window…The alarm sounds off…He was six-foot tall, unknownst to the…homeowner, wearing dark clothing,” Sheriff Michael Chapman of Loudon County, Va., told “20/20.” “You look at everything in context of what’s going on: 2:30 in the morning, somebody breaking in to your house, you..had no idea who this person was.”

“You could have…shot him in leg,” Shawn Gordley said. “Instead he lined himself up at the perfect angle to shoot a hollow point bullet through my son’s lung and explode his chest and then a fourth shot at his head for good measure.”

No charges were ever filed against Wilder. Through his attorney, Wilder declined a request from “20/20” for an interview, saying in statement, “As you can imagine, the incident was an unfortunate tragedy on every level…As we are not confident that participating in your program would contribute to the healing process, we are unwilling to so participate.”

Good for Wilder… Wise decision NOT to appear on ABC. Any appearance on any of the mainstream media networks would be detrimental to the situation. The mainstream networks have been particularly biased in their reporting against 2nd Amendment rights of American citizens and in favor of more gun control laws. Wilder would have most certainly been made to look like a villain when, in fact, he was a victim of a crime which forced him to take another human life.

No one who buys a gun for home defense expects that he or she will ever have to actually point it at another human being and shoot. Even in a clear case of self defense, the repercussions of taking such action, leave life long scars.
Leave Wilder alone and let him heal.

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    Open and shut. Intruder heading towards a family member and not obeying orders to stop. I wouldn’t have given him that much time.

    • PlowStone14

      Same here , ammo is scarce and expensive! No warning shots…the first round down the tube is headed for center-mass, if there is another its going right between the suckers eyes.

      • chamuiel

        I am not going to be aiming at his leg.

        • stormhaven

          If he was that drunk, he probably would not have felt it anyway.

  • Legirons

    When this first came out and the parents said they didn’t blame the shooter I thought finally someone with some character, a family who understands that their kid brought it on himself. Sadly, that didn’t last long.

    • chamuiel

      The MSM and the crying emotional liberals got to them.

      • charlie

        a scumbag lawyer most probably

    • Ikari

      The Black Grievance Industry found a new Traybon to make money off of. The family changed their mind because they were promised a share of the profits.

  • Marty Howard

    As parents it is our responsibility to teach our children that there are consequences to their actions, no matter what!!! I have raised 4 children and am now helping to educate my 1st grandson and he will learn about consequences. If we as parents don’t take the responsibility of educating our children the way we want them to be then someone else will mold them into what they want them too be, IT’S YOUR CHOICE, and your choice also has consequences!!!

  • Paul Marcum

    It’s the what ifs that killed the young man, what if he was a drugged out rapist or psychotic murderer? A man’s duty is to defend his family, and the homeowner was doing his duty. Alcohol and teens are a bad mix, and it led to a tragedy. The boys friend was a lousy friend for running away, also.

  • Bob Beatty

    Homeowner went above and beyond – home owner did the right thing, but took longer than I would have – Homeowner should sue parents for the suffering he will have for the rest of his life because he killed a stupid kid.

  • glock22

    The homeowners should not be held accountable for the poor judgment of the drunk teenager…no matter how tragic the family of the teen sees this shooting, it’s his fault for underage drinking and poor judgment.

  • John Gazarkiewicz
    • John Gazarkiewicz
      • John Gazarkiewicz
        • John Gazarkiewicz

          Not posting these links because I disagree with the homeowner, actually I agree with him, he had the right to defend himself since he didn’t recognize Caleb…

        • John Gazarkiewicz

          posting the above links because I disagree with the homeowner, actually
          I agree with him, he had the right to defend himself since he didn’t
          recognize Caleb, I think the tables would be turned if it were Calebs

  • Marcus127

    The Home Owner was absolutely right to do what he did.

    Parents…..do you know where your Kids are at 2:30 in the morning? Do you know who they hang out with…..do they do drugs…..drink Alcohol…..at age 16?

    I would charge the Parent’s with Child Neglect and see how the NAACP would like that!

  • Gabriel

    No doubt that some dumb ass liberal lawyer coaxed the parents to change their position.

    • James Maxwell

      First thing you notice is the kid appears to be half black and half Asian
      bet they try to make it a racial thing.

      • Kent2012

        if I had a son……

  • Charles Edwards

    I do not know what the laws of Va. are concerning this type of situation are, but where I come from, burglary of a habitation (which from what is said here was not the intent) during the hours of dark is automatically a felony and comes with the presumption that the ‘wrongdoer is armed or at the very least, ‘up to no good’ meaning a person may assume the threat of physical harm. Both of which are a defense for lethal force. Let us also not forget the girlfriend upstairs. He was defending the life of another which is also a grounds of defense for the use of deadly force. Admitted, armchair quarterback style, all these assumptions were groundless BUT the perception of the homeowner was still what must be gone by. If just me in the home, I believe I would have waited for an actual, NOT a perceived threat to surface BUT with another life which I feel responsible for being present, it wouldn’t have gotten past two steps from where I first encountered him and it would have been game over. The homeowner gave him more than ample opportunity to back off, he didn’t, refusing all instructions to stop, to me the results were to be expected.

  • Hotrod

    Sounds like momma need mo money!

    • FAAQ2

      Yeah welfare is probably not enough for the parents !

  • T-Bone

    You don’t shoot to maim, you shoot to stop the threat to your family. I understand the pain – If I were a parent of the deceased, I would be trying to blame someone to find some rationale in this. But as the homeowner, if I’ve validated it’s NOT MY KID, I’m shooting first if the intruder is making his way upstairs towards my children. I don’t know his intent! My job is to protect my children first. Castle Doctrine! I have no way of determining a stranger’s intent therefore I must assume the worst.
    Sad part is this person will probably drain his life savings to defend himself for something any normal person would do. The nanny state our government is enabling is allowing BS like this to occur.

  • James Patrick

    Like Jason in Friday the 13th movie series Trayvon Martin rises again.

  • CrustyOldGeezer


    day wuz count’n on him t’ bring home da bakon when day iz old an’ caint get no mor’ welfare.

  • chamuiel

    It was an unfortunate situation, but the parents have no reason to call it murder.

    Perhaps, if the parents had spent more time with their child teaching him what was right and wrong, perhaps with more love and discipline the young man would be alive today.He would not have snuck out at midnight to go get blind stumbling drunk, so drunk he could not recognize his own home.

    At 2:30 in the morning when a stranger has broken into your home, you are scared, your adrenaline is up, and someone suggests you could have shot him in the leg, then that person obviously has no concept of what one feels or is going through.
    To shoot an intruder in the leg is not an option. Not unless you are a combat veteran of many a fight and have nerves of steel, it just is not going to happen.

    I feel for the parents pain. But I also understand what the home owner was going through.

    The homeowner was in the right.

    Leave him alone. He has done nothing wrong.

    • charlie

      charge the parents with manslaughter at least for not raising him to understand that actions have consequences. They are responsible for the actions of a 16 yr old

  • A. G. T. Jr.

    Donald Wilder is absolutely correct and blameless in this situation. At 2:30 in the morning, a 16-year old kid should be in his parent’s home asleep of studying late for his upcoming school lessons or exams. I’m a parent too and my wife and I always knew where our kids are at 2:30 in the morning. There were never drinking, they were never on drugs and they were never with kids whose parents we never interfaced with. At 16, we never allowed them to drink alcoholic drinks. The times they were missing at home at 2:30 in the morning was when they were in kin’s or friend’s home with the friend’s parents keeping us posted of our kids’ whereabout. At 18, they tried beer, whiskey, gin, brandy, and vodka and decided they don’t like the stuff.

  • James Maxwell

    First where in the hell did a 16 year old person get alcohol in the first place and
    especially enough to get drunk? That would be the first question I would want
    answered. As a home owner and a parent I catch anyone attempting to break
    into my home at any time there would be a serious problem and I would not
    hesitate to used force to stop the invasion especially if they were heading for
    my family. Their safety is paramount in my mind. Taking a human lines is
    a thing that passes thru your mind and not something no one want to consider
    but my families safe or their life there is no question which I would choose
    without thought, My family comes first, no questions ask.

  • rivahmitch

    Little POS got what it deserved. Should have been shot while still in the kitchen. It’s the correct way to deal with ANY home (or national) invaders. Semper Fi!

  • Feltre

    Jan is right, he should have not gotten to the stairs. What if the girlfriend had come out of the room into the line of fire? And a pistol is not a signaling device.

  • Kent2012

    When you are faced with an intruder the thought process is not “is this person armed?” it is also not “is this person drunk/high/mental defective?” nor is it “is this tall stranger in my home at X a.m. ignoring my shouted directions a teenager?” a tragedy? maybe, but when you treat strangers poorly some react negatively to your poor judgement…..this time a young person died, much the same as drinking and pretending that you know how to drive as well as Mario Andretti when he was racing…sober I might add….

  • gdawg11

    Mom and Dad, I guess it is easier to blame someone else rather than deal with the fact that your lack of parenting skills resulted in the boy making a poor decision that cost him his life…..

  • marineh2ominer

    Probably another one of Obamass sons !!

  • MontieR

    Keep your kids under control and they won’t get shot. Cry me a river. Anyone in my home under those circumstances WILL be shot.

  • 2War Abn Vet

    It looks like the parents are looking for a payoff. After all, they had months to talk to a lawyer before changing their minds about the shooting.

  • onlyvato

    Black man in your house at 2:am shoot quickly and empty that clip! Center mass will do.

  • Jim28thReg.

    The parents and authority should go after whoever furnished the drugs/alcohol to the teen pluss plaster all the photos taken even the autopsy all over the community. Let the kids know the results of what could happen. There are no inocents here — except the man defending his home. It is very sad however we all MUST begin protecting our family from all – ALL intrusion. including those who think they have authority over your rights.

  • Daniel F. Melton

    Has there been any investigation and prosecution of those who allowed/supplied the teens with alcohol? Those people are at least complicit in the death if not directly responsible.

  • Lots should have happen, like arresting the parents, who let and help him get drunk should be locked up,

  • stormhaven

    The same thing happened to me in 2009. The big difference is that my intruder, after he saw my gun aimed at him and hearing me scream threats at him, complied with everything I ordered him to do. I was fully prepared to shoot to kill if he would not have gotten in the “down” position with hands out in front of him and stayed there until the police arrived. Just the thought of knowing I was prepared to take a life caused me to have a heart attack (I am a senior female) and I ended up in the hospital. I would do it the same way if there is a next time. Once an intruder has the upper hand, there is no telling how violent they will become or what they will do to you. Seniors seem to be a target these days for home intruders. I am sympathetic to the family, but it was a terrible chain of events that could have been avoided had the owner of the house he got drunk at would not have contributed to his drunken state and also to the tragic error in delivering him to the wrong house.

  • MoBetter2

    I would have given the intruder a warning shot – center mass. Additional warning shots to center mass would have followed until the threat was neutralized. The intruder forfeited any expectations of consideration when he committed a home invasion at 2:30 a.m.

  • two2wisper

    Well I wonder if nappy head white hating Al not so sharp-ton is gonna jump on board. Sad that it happen but so are all careless and reckless behavior acts.

  • FAAQ2

    Now I see the drunken puke was black ! It must be racism- after all blacks aren’t criminals are they ?? yeah they are 12% of the population but 47% of the prison population.. case closed ! Does he loo like Obama ?

  • Why then was Caleb Gordley in the house? That is what I would ask the parents…why was he there and not at home?

  • Alton Clark

    Even his on farther may have shot him coming through a back window at 2:30 . I know I would have !

  • Alton Clark

    Does he look like obama’s son to any of you ?

  • jimpeel

    “You could have…shot him in leg,” Shawn Gordley said.

    They always say that, don’t they? It is apparent the guy wasn’t that good of a shot as it took several shots to take him down once he decided to stop firing warning shots. It is hard to shoot someone in the front if they have already walked past you, ignored your orders, and are headed toward an innocent person.

    The kid was under punishment; the kid escaped from his home; the kid got intentionally drunk; others assisted him in that endeavor; the kid placed himself in harm’s way; the kid got himself killed. ‘Nuf said.

  • The Carpathian

    In what direction do you aim your “warning shot?” Do you want the expense of repairing a ceiling and possibly have a powerful round exit through the attic/crawl space and
    through the roof? Want to aim at your expensive hardwood floor or carpeting? Where?
    Most insurance companies will say that a deliberate destruction of your own making and not compensate for repairs or replacement.
    If you are justified in using your weapon, use your weapon. Shoot for center of mass (center of chest) and squeeze the trigger. That IS your warning shot. You are warning that if the poerson does not stop, a second bullet will cause even more havoc with his internal organs. Enough with the warning shots.
    I understand the indecision at shooting … even when he passes you. But once he continues his advance on your family or those under your protection, all bets are off. Do you ask him to turn around so you can shoot him in the chest? Would he comply? NO! Shoot him in the back at the center of mass. You may take our heart and a lung. Or, you may be off and sever his spine creating a new Quadrapeligic. But regadless, it is HIS decision to force you to actually use the firearm.
    The kid committed suicide while in a drunken and impared condition.
    Too bad. Heal soon, Mr. Wilder. You did nothing wrong.

  • Fred Flint

    Its all about the lawsuit and the chance at some free money

  • Joanne

    This is a tragedy, sad for everyone involved. It must have been scary for the homeowner and maybe he panicked. So sad for the boy’s family, too, they lost their son.

  • balance

    Poor parenting is perhaps one of the biggest problems we face in ‘our united states’. It’s unfortunate the teen died but what’s so difficult to understand about the command to a burgular get out of my house’? Let this type of incident be a warning to all parents . . . NOW IS THE TIME TO TALK TO YOUR KIDS and help them understand that there are consequences to their actions.

  • Osama Obama

    If Trebon, er, Caleb was sober, home in bed, he would still be alive.

  • rivahmitch

    The only thing I disagree with is that wasted warning shot.