Authorities: Home invasion shooter didn't know his victim

News-DemocratMay 8, 2014 

The scene of the shooting along Imbs Station Road near Millstadt.

TIM VIZER/BND

A 72-year-old homeowner shot and killed a 62-year-old man suspected of breaking into the widower's home Thursday near Millstadt.

The resident at 2113 Imbs Station Road called 911 and reported someone was breaking into his home and he could hear glass breaking, according to St. Clair County Sheriff Rick Watson.

"When the guy got through the glass, the homeowner fired his sidearm and didn't know if he hit the man or not. The (burglar) took off and when we got there we found him in the driveway," Watson said. "Our deputies tried to revive him but it didn't work."

This is the third time someone has broken into the man's home, Watson said, adding the widower was upset to learn from deputies that the other man had died. The widower, who has health problems, is now staying with family.

"He is pretty broke up about the whole thing. Like I said he didn't know if he hit him or not. When he found out the guy was deceased it broke him up. It's just an unfortunate incident," Watson said.

"Everybody says that if somebody comes into my house I'd shoot them. That's not as easy as you think. It's truly not. If you do have to do it, then you have to live with that the rest of your life. This guy is going to have to live with this the rest of his life."

The homeowner did not know the intruder, Watson said. The suspect had died from a single shot from the homeowner's handgun.

St. Clair County dispatch received the 911 call at 12:41 p.m. reporting a burglary in progress, said Capt. Scott Weymouth, a spokesman for the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department.

"As the units were responding they were advised by the homeowner that a shot hit the suspect inside the residence," Weymouth said.

Police arrived at the house at the corner of Imbs Station and Triple Lakes roads to find the suspect dead near the suspect's vehicle.

Although the investigation continues, it is unlikely the homeowner will be charged with a crime, Weymouth said.

State law allows the use of deadly force against an intruder as long as the intruder violently breaks into the home and the homeowner believes the use of force will prevent an assault or a felony.

Watson said the incident was handled like any other investigation.

"We brought him in and talked to him to make sure his statement matches the facts and evidence. He is released at this time but until something else comes up investigation. Right now, it appears what he said is what happens," Watson said.

The alleged burglary did not carry any identification. Police will not release the name of the man until he is positively identified and notify next of kin, Watson said.

Watson said residents whose homes have been targeted by criminals multiple times should consider making their homes more visible.

"His house kind of sits down from the road. If you pull into the driveway, you are out of the view of everything. Nobody knows you are there," Watson said. "People should ask 'What can I do to make my house more secure?' Perhaps cut some bushes, make your house more visible, things like that ... You always count on your neighbors to look out for your, but they can't see either sometimes."

News-Democrat reporter Mike Fitzgerald contributed to this article. Contact reporter Daniel Kelley at dkelley@bnd.com or 618-239-2501.

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