Zoey Ripple, 21, of Boulder, Colo., drunkenly made her way into what she claims she thought was a friend’s house on May 23, 2012. The house is on a fenced lot, in a remote part of town, on a hill, at the end of a remote, steep driveway. Ripple later told police that she had been drinking at a party up the hill, and entered the residence thinking she was with friends. Ripple claims to have said “hello” on entering the darkened bedroom. She also said she felt “confused.” That’s when homeowner Timothy Justice shot her in the side.
According to homeowners Doreen Orion and Timothy Justice, they were asleep in their bedroom when they were awakened just after 3 a.m. by what they initially thought was animal activity outside. It turned out to be a person, who entered their bedroom through the unlocked sliding glass door. A human figure carrying what appeared to be a flashlight was visible in the doorway, though unrecognizable in the dark. According to the arrest affidavit, the homeowners told the person to leave several times, and said that they had a gun, but received no reply from the University of Colorado speech, language and hearing sciences major.
That’s when Orion allegedly told Justice to “get the gun,” a Glock, which he retrieved from the nightstand. He chambered a round and shot at the light the person, who was now at the foot of the bed, was carrying. The shot was fired from about six feet away and struck the intruder in the side. Orion made the 911 call at 3:26 a.m. During the call Orion told the dispatcher that the couple had been “screaming” for the intruder to go away before firing. She added that the intruder seemed “stoned,” though Ripple told police later at the hospital that she had not done any drugs. When the dispatcher asked is the intruder was conscious and breathing, Orion told her that she was sitting up and talking on the phone — though not to 911, it would seem.
When measured, her blood alcohol level was above .20, which, experts agree, is really, really drunk. When police interviewed Ripple at the hospital, she gave them her version of events and asked for more time to process what had happened. Ripple’s party hosts confirmed that she had been at their home for about 30 minutes, and had left on foot. The Boulder D.A. has decided not to charge the homeowners with any wrongdoing, and Ripple may be charged with trespassing.