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Friday, August 1st, 2014

Boy, 16, Killed by Neighbor When He Enters Wrong House

Caleb GordleyA 16-year-old boy in Sterling, Va., was shot and killed by a neighbor early Sunday morning when he mistakenly entered the home of the neighbor through a back window after sneaking out to go drinking with friends.

The parents of the boy, Caleb Gordley, said their son was drunk and didn’t realize he had entered the wrong house, which is two doors down from his own and looks identical, down to the color of the carpet on the stairs.

The tragic case is yet another example of a life needlessly taken by gun violence. But the teen’s parents, Shawn and Jennea Gordley,  said they forgive the shooter and do not blame that individual for what happened.

Shawn Gordley told authorities that the staircase and carpet in the home of his neighbor Donald West Wilder II looks exactly the same as the ones in his own home, so his son thought he was in his own house—particularly since they had been living in the house less than a year. Police say Wilder shot Caleb when the boy ignored his warning and climbed the staircase.

According to the parents, the boy snuck out of the house Saturday night and went drinking with friends. On the way home, Caleb’s friends apparently dropped him off at the wrong house around 2 a.m., and he thought he was sneaking back in through the rear window he had exited hours earlier.

Caleb, a junior at Park View High School, was described by his great aunt, Bonnie Terry, as a great athlete and a talented song writer who played baseball, basketball and football in school.

Police said Caleb triggered a burglar alarm in Wilder’s home that woke them up.

Wilder told police he confronted the teen on the staircase and warned him to leave, but he said he was ignored, prompting him to shoot the boy, killing him.

About Nick Chiles

Nick Chiles is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author. He has written or co-written 12 books and won over a dozen major journalism awards during a journalism career that brought him to the Dallas Morning News, the Star-Ledger of New Jersey and New York Newsday, in addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief of Odyssey Couleur travel magazine.

Comments

  1. Mike Bryan says:

    Hmm intruder in house at 2am coming up the stairs towards my bedroom and refused to heed warning to leave.. just another example of needless gun violence? What world do you live in? It's a tragic story but it's really just another example of life needlessly taken due to alcohol abuse by an under age drinker..

  2. Danny Lee says:

    I agree with you Mike Bryan, this is just another example of how they take a situation that was actually handled the correct way and try to turn it into a anti gun crusade that they have been on. The home owner ordered him to stop! He didn't. Why bash guns when this article obviously shows a very responsible homeowner protecting his family and property. This blame is fully and sadly on the kid that entered the wrong home. Nick Chiles please learn to write articles responsibly.

  3. David Trimble says:

    How is this Gun violence? Sounds like a citizen protecting his home and his life!

  4. I agree with every one but people will use this for gun control but if someone broke in my house and I think me or my family is going to be harmed I have to protect me family my prayers go out to the family for their lost.

  5. Tim T Willy Williams says:

    What a waste , this should, ve never happen. That, s why children should not drink and should always obey their parents.

  6. Susann Chung says:

    Watch the full story on ABC News' "20/20" TONIGHT at 10 p.m. ET

    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?”

  7. Guess he should have stayed at home and not slipping out drinking. Put the blame where it belongs. He was old enough to know better.

  8. Matt Thompson says:

    I HAVE WATCHED THE FULL STORY MORE THAN ONCE AND CAN SAY WILL CONFIDENCE THIS IS A SAD SITUATION A HUMAN BEING LOST THEIR LIFE. HOWEVER, ANYBODY IN THE NEIGHBORS SHOES WOULD HAVE DONE THE SAME THING. REGARDLESS OF IT BEING A SHOT IN THE BACK. EVERYONE SEEMS TO STRAY AWAY FROM THE FACT THAT HIS FATHER WAKING UP AT 7 AM, STILL HA NO CLUE THAT HIS SON HAD SNUCK OUT? ALL THE DAD WANTS TO DO IS POINT THE FINGER AT THE NEIGHBOR WHEN I BELIEVE THE FATHER FEELS LIKE AN IDIOT FOR THE FACT THAT IS IT 90% HIS FAULT. LAST OF ALL THEY PLAYED A CLIP OF A RAP SONG THAT THE BOY MADE TALKING ABOUT "123 ITS SO EASY TO BE DONE LIKE THAT" IM SORRY BUT THERE IS NO POSITIVE RAP ANYMORE. THE KID WASNT AN "ANGEL "LIKE EVERYONE THINKS. ITS A SAD ISSUE THAT A LIFE WAS LOST BUT BOTTOM LINE THE KID AND HIS FATHER WAS IRRESPONSIBLE AND THE NEIGHBOR WAS PROTECTING HIS FAMILY AND PROPERTY. LESSON LEARNED. REST IN PEACE TO CALEB GORDLEY. HOW MANY MORE OF THESE INCIDENTS ARE GOING TO HAPPEN BEFORE PARENTS OPEN THEIR EYES?

  9. Matt Thompson says:

    I HAVE WATCHED THE FULL STORY MORE THAN ONCE AND CAN SAY WILL CONFIDENCE THIS IS A SAD SITUATION A HUMAN BEING LOST THEIR LIFE. HOWEVER, ANYBODY IN THE NEIGHBORS SHOES WOULD HAVE DONE THE SAME THING. REGARDLESS OF IT BEING A SHOT IN THE BACK. EVERYONE SEEMS TO STRAY AWAY FROM THE FACT THAT HIS FATHER WAKING UP AT 7 AM, STILL HA NO CLUE THAT HIS SON HAD SNUCK OUT? ALL THE DAD WANTS TO DO IS POINT THE FINGER AT THE NEIGHBOR WHEN I BELIEVE THE FATHER FEELS LIKE AN IDIOT FOR THE FACT THAT IS IT 90% HIS FAULT. LAST OF ALL THEY PLAYED A CLIP OF A RAP SONG THAT THE BOY MADE TALKING ABOUT "123 ITS SO EASY TO BE DONE LIKE THAT" IM SORRY BUT THERE IS NO POSITIVE RAP ANYMORE. THE KID WASNT AN "ANGEL "LIKE EVERYONE THINKS. ITS A SAD ISSUE THAT A LIFE WAS LOST BUT BOTTOM LINE THE KID AND HIS FATHER WAS IRRESPONSIBLE AND THE NEIGHBOR WAS PROTECTING HIS FAMILY AND PROPERTY. LESSON LEARNED. REST IN PEACE TO CALEB GORDLEY. HOW MANY MORE OF THESE INCIDENTS ARE GOING TO HAPPEN BEFORE PARENTS OPEN THEIR EYES?

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