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Elderly homeowner shoots at burglary suspect

Elderly homeowner shoots at burglary suspect

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A homeowner shot at a burglary suspect early Saturday morning.

Just after 1 a.m. Saturday, police received reports of a burglary in progress at a home in the 400 block of West Platte Ave. When they arrived, they found the burglary suspect on the front porch of the home.

Police said the suspect was extremely drunk and tried to enter the victim's house.  He recently moved into a home a block away and mistook the home for his own.

The 80-year-old victim then fired a single shot from a shotgun through the front door of the house, over the suspects head.  Police said the suspect laid on the ground as soon as the shot was fired and remained there until police arrived on scene.

No one was hurt during the incident.

KRDO NewsChannel 13 spoke with five neighbors on the block that didn't hear the shot go off. One neighbor said he was alarmed by the incident. He said there are occassional "riff-raff" and "homeless people" that wander into the neighborhood. He said he didn't know what he would have done if the intoxicated suspect came to his door -- he supported his neighbor's actions.

Sgt. Pamela Castro with the Colorado Springs Police Department said in this incident, the homeowner's actions are protected under Colorado's "Make My Day" law.

"You do have the right to defend your home from someone forcing entry. You don't have the right to go out onto your frotn lawn and shoot somebody in the back or shoot somebody on your front lawn, it is the defense of your home," said Castro.

She explained the details of the law.

"[It gives] you the right to defend yourself and your family when you're in your residence if you're in fear or injury or death from an individual trying to break into your residence," said Castro.

She said incidents like this aren't uncommon. She said she knows of several incidents in the past where an intoxicated person tried to enter the wrong home and some of those resulted in fatalities.

"There are consequences for every action, even if its not what you intended.  Obviously he did not intend to try to burglarize this person's residence," said Castro. "The victim did not intend to have someone break in and have to defend themselves but unfortunately whenever alcohol is in the mix it changes things on many occasions."

The suspect was taken to jail on an unrelated traffic warrant.

Castro said the police department will present its findings from the investigation to the District Attorney's office. It will be up to the DA to decide whether it will press charges against the homeowner.  No charges against the hoemowner have been filed. 

By the afternoon the homeowners had replaced the old door with a new white door.

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