The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office confirmed today that the homeowner who mistakenly shot a 16-year-old Sterling student for a burglar on March 17 gave verbal warnings and fired warning shots before fatally wounding the teen.
Caleb A. Gordley, 16, died on the scene at the home in the 45900 block of Pullman Court in Sterling.
Authorities said Gordley, a well-loved student and athlete at Park View High School, mistakenly climbed into a neighbor’s back, unlocked window after a night of drinking alcohol with friends.
At this point in the investigation, it appears there is no evidence that Gordley entered the home with criminal intent, according to Liz Mills, spokesperson for the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office.
The shooting took place shortly after 2:30 a.m. March 17 when a resident reported that their house alarm was activated. As the homeowner went to investigate, he discovered an unknown man inside his home.
After the homeowner fired warning shots, the teenager continued up the stairs and into a hallway. The homeowner discharged his firearm several times. The teen was struck once in the left rear shoulder after passing the homeowner in the hallway and walking toward an upstairs bedroom where other residents of the house were staying.
At this point, it appears the firearm used, a .40 caliber pistol, was legally owned. Several shell casings and rounds were recovered at the scene, according to Mills.
The Sheriff's Office is continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding how the teens were able to obtain alcohol.
On Wednesday, Loudoun County Sheriff’s detectives met with members of Gordley's family to update them on the latest findings in the case and to detail the circumstances surrounding the incident. The homeowner and Caleb’s family remain cooperative in the investigation, Mills said.
The case is open pending a final report from the Medical Examiner’s Office to include a toxicology report. The results of the investigation are being reviewed by the Office of the Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney, but no final determination will be made until all the information has been received.