Kirk Caldwell: Why are we talking murder charges?

Pastor Kirk Caldwell of Darby, PA shot and killed his own son on Christmas Day.  I’ve seen numerous comments on blogs and articles on this incident – most very negative. Calling Kirk a murderer, saying “he needs to pay for his sins”, etc, etc.

I’ve held off commenting on this issue until I found an article with a bit more information.

An article by would hint at this being a self-defense case.

It’s reported that Pastor Kirk Caldwell’s son Jordan was beating a woman (presumably girlfriend). When Pastor Kirk came down he saw his 21 yr old son “punching, hitting and throwing other family members around the house”. When Pastor Caldwell attempted to calm his son down he was thrown to the floor.

Pastor Caldwell retrieved a .40 S&W from his bedroom. There was concern that his son Jordan was armed with a knife, something apparently that was common behavior for his son. When his son kept coming forward while reaching for his pocket, his father shot him.  Kirk Caldwell dropped his gun and ran to hold his fallen son in his arms. His son Jordan would soon be pronounced dead.

I do not see how this case is a worthy of criminal homicide, & murder in both the 1st and 3rd degree (see docket).  Here we have a violent son currently engaged in beating a woman.  Several family members have tried to stop the situation. When the son continues to escalate it. The father is faced with the most daunting tasks imaginable. Stopping a son he loves from being a monster.  Faced with his son charging at him, moving in a manner resembling the drawing of a knife he is known to regularly carry – the father shoots his son.

This is not murder. This is a travesty, a tragedy.  It is a father who has had to do the unimaginable. A father who is probably questioning every aspect of failure in his role of being a father.  Where did he go wrong with this one?  A father who knows his family has been destroyed irrevocably. A family who has forever lost the joy of Christmas Day by this unseemly tragedy.

This man does not need our accusations. He needs our prayers.  It is my hope that I never need to take a life in order to defend mine. Doing so is a horrible experience. I cannot even fathom what it feels to be forced to take the life of your own son – even if done in order to protect others from him.

There is always room for criticism. Some questioned why the police weren’t called. First, realize that had the police been called their arrival probably would have been long after this incident occurred. Second realize how quickly these situations transpire. Third, consider that few want to call the police on a loved one. Such hesitation can be deadly, but often times loved ones assume the situation will not reach such fervor.

Published in: on January 1, 2010 at 5:34 pm  Comments (6)  
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