An Oklahoma teenager was shot on New Year’s Day after playing “Ding Dong Ditch,” and it’s unclear if the neighbor who shot him will face any criminal charges, KOTV (Tulsa) is reporting.
“Ding Dong Ditch” (it also goes by a far more vulgar name, which won’t be printed in this article) is a prank kids and teenagers play, sort of like prank phone calls. Only, instead of calling someone on the telephone, they ring the doorbell (or knock on the door) and then run off, leaving the confused homeowner wondering why there’s no one at the door. It’s annoying but harmless. Apparently the prank enraged one Pryor, Oklahoma homeowner to the point that he thought shooting the culprit was an appropriate response.
Police say 14-year-old Cole Peyton, a football player, wrestler, and honor roll freshman at Pryor High School was walking through his neighborhood at about 1:30 a.m. on the morning of New Year’s Day, playing Ding Dong Ditch.
Neighbor Samantha Perry describes seeing Peyton and her friends walking around the neighborhood that morning.
“We saw three kids walking down by the newer houses. It was kind of odd, but didn’t think anything of it.”
According to Peyton’s mother, who spoke to KOTV from a Tulsa hospital where her son is recovering from surgery, said that at some point the boys ding dong ditched a neighbor, who has not been identified as of this writing, then pranked other houses. As they were making their way home, their route took them past the same house again. That’s when the angry neighbor started firing his gun.
Peyton said he heard the neighbor yell, “Hey!” Peyton told his friends to run. The neighbor then shot Peyton in the back.
Peyton was shot “several times.” At least one bullet struck his arm, and another punctured his liver. He was taken to a Tulsa hospital where he underwent surgery; as of this writing, his condition has not been made public.
Police were called to the 1100 block of SE 15th Street — it’s not clear if the shooter or a witness called them — believing they were responding to a home invasion.
Once they arrived, police learned that they were not responding to a home invasion, but rather a New Year’s Day prank gone awry.
Mrs. Perry told KOTV that she didn’t think teens playing a game of ding dong ditch deserved to get shot.
“I mean, that’s just kids being kids right there, I don’t think there should’ve been anything like that involved.”
The police, however, may see things differently. As of this writing, they neighbor who shot Peyton has not been arrested or charged with any crimes, and authorities may yet decide that his actions that morning were completely legal, says Pryor Chief of Police Steven W. Lemmings.
“Currently, the investigation suggests that the juveniles were engaged in neighborhood pranks and not attempting to break into the residence. The investigation now centers around whether the homeowner’s use of deadly force was lawful or illegal. No arrests have been made at this point.”
Whether or not the neighbor will be charged will be up to the Mays County District Attorney, who is reviewing the case.
Oklahoma is one of several states that has a so-called “Stand Your Ground” Law, according to a 2009 KOTV report. Such laws allow for a person who is in “reasonable fear of imminent peril” to respond with deadly force.
Do you believe the homeowner was right to shoot a teenager for playing Ding Dong Ditch? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
[Image via Shutterstock/Sarah Marchant]