Everyone makes mistakes, but one young man’s mistake, fueled by alcohol and a neighborhood with way too many identical homes, cost him his life.
Caleb Gordley was like most 16-year-olds. He wanted to have fun. But when his parents grounded him for not cleaning his room, the young man sneaked out of his home in Lourdan County to kick it with his friends. According to the Washington Post, in the early hours of Sunday morning after having some drinks with friends and partying the night before, Gordley tried to sneak back into his home in the hopes that his parents wouldn’t catch him, and even had his friends help him enter his home using a back window.
Unfortunately for Gordley, he entered the wrong house. According to reports, homes on Gordley’s block all have a similar brick construction and often have similar features on the inside. Caleb Gordley’s father, Shawn Gordley, told the Washington Post that the neighbor’s house that Caleb found himself in had the same carpet and staircase and gate around the back. The Gordleys had just moved into the neighborhood less than a year ago. As Caleb walked through the wrong house, the homeowner was alarmed when he heard his burglar alarm go off. According to The Huffington Post, he called police, grabbed his gun and headed downstairs, where he encountered Caleb. The homeowner later told police he fired off a warning shot, but the young man didn’t leave. He shot Caleb after the fact, killing him.
When my boyfriend shared this story with me last night, we both found it to be incredibly sad, but he was more mad. “Why didn’t he shoot him in the leg!? Why do people with guns in this country shoot to kill instead of just shooting to incapacitate?” I could see where he was coming from, but I couldn’t help but wonder what I would have done in such a situation, if I was the homeowner and there was a man in my home at 2 a.m. with my family and I inside. Even my boyfriend said that someone coming in to hurt his family he would take out before they had the chance to hurt him or anyone else, but then my question was, that early in the morning, in a dark house, can you really differentiate what someone’s motives are? Especially when they shouldn’t be in your home in the first place? It’s a truly terrible situation to be in, and even Caleb’s parents aren’t even sure what they would have done if something like that happened to them. “I don’t even blame the gentleman. I don’t know what I would have done,” says Jennea Gordley, the victim’s mother. According to the Huffington Post, no arrests have been made of the shooter and no charges have been filed even though the case is still under review.
The young man was mostly known for being a good student, and staying out of trouble at school. Caleb was a junior at his local high school and a pretty popular young man and strong athlete. His classmates and teammates have been mourning his death this week and his family continues to try and make sense of their loss. But they do recognize that their time with him was a blessing. According to Caleb’s father, there were complications with his birth that almost threatened the life of Jeannea and Caleb, but they both made it.
“We got 16 1/2 awesome years out of this young man. We could have had none.”