The Lookout

Teen fatally shot when he mistakenly went into wrong house

The Lookout

A 16-year-old who lived in Loudoun County, Va., was shot and killed when he accidentally entered the wrong house.

Caleb Gordley, a popular athlete who had been living in a brick house with his parents and sister for about a year, sneaked out of his house to go to a party with friends after he'd been grounded for not cleaning his room.

When he returned around 2 a.m. he slipped into the house he thought was his. Friends said he had been drinking and mistook his neighbor’s similar house two doors down for his own and climbed in through the back window.

When the burglar alarm sounded, the homeowner treated Caleb as an intruder, and shot and killed him.

Caleb’s father, Shawn Gordley, told The Washington Post, “They have the exact same staircase as us, the exact same carpet. Caleb clearly thought he was in his own house.” He added, “He probably stumbled around and was just trying to go to his room.”

At Sterling Park High school in Sterling, Va., students mourned the loss of a talented athlete. The coach of the basketball team, Mike Koscinski, who had advanced Caleb to varsity this year, said of the junior, “He was the hype man. He got everyone hyped up before games.”

A statement from the family reads, “Between the darkness and him being under the influence of alcohol, his mistake turned into the ultimate tragedy.”

Police are continuing to investigate the shooting, but Virginia law gives “wide latitude to people who fear for their safety when someone breaks into their homes,” according to The Washington Post.

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Family members hold photos of Caleb Gordley in Sterling, Va. (Associated Press/Ann Heisenfelt)

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