March 24, 2013

A suburban Virginia teenager was tragically shot to death recently when, under the influence of alcohol, he entered a neighbor’s home, two doors away, that he had mistaken for his own [“ ‘His mistake turned into the ultimate tragedy,’ family says,” front page, March 19]. It reminded my wife and me of an eerily similar incident many years ago at the home where we then lived. One night, a young man suddenly slid open the glass door that led from our back yard to our family room and stepped inside.

We were understandably startled, but he was obviously stoned — on drugs, not alcohol, we assumed — and we immediately concluded that he must have been attending a party in the neighborhood, was disoriented and was not intent on harming us.

We simply ushered him out the way he came in and pointed him in the direction of our next-door neighbors, who had teenage children. Most important, we did not own a gun and so did not have the means to precipitously end a life before we had all the facts.

David M. Cohen, Chevy Chase