Clayton County, Georgia

From the Clayton News-Daily of September 12, 2007

Man killed during alleged home invasion

An early-morning struggle in a darkened duplex left a man lying dead on the floor next to a backpack full of burglary tools, Clayton County Police said.

The renting resident told detectives he heard the noise of someone breaking down his back door at about 4:30, Wednesday morning. He went to check, and bumped into someone in the kitchen.

“He saw the suspect reaching for a gun in his waistband,” said Deputy Chief Tim Robinson, and “was somehow able to disarm the suspect. He fell back — I’m talking, maybe 10 feet — he fired and he killed the suspect.”

The renter, whose name has not yet been released by police, fired several shots inside his 5701 Williamsburg Trace residence, between Riverdale and College Park, according to his statements to police.

The man called 911 almost 2 1/2 hours later. He said he was calling from his cell phone and was standing outside, down the street from his home, according to police.

“He said someone had broken into his house and he had shot him,” Robinson said. “The question we’re trying to answer… We’re trying to account for the time frame between when he said it happened and when he actually called.”

Police dispatch received a report of shots fired, in that neighborhood, at about 5:15 a.m., between the time the man said he shot the intruder and the time he called for police.

A patrol car went through the neighborhood, after the first 911 call, but there was no one on the street and nothing visibly wrong, Robinson said.

The resident told police he was scared, after firing several shots at the man in the dark duplex, and ran away. He said he made calls to friends, on his cell phone, and eventually came back to the neighborhood and called 911, Robinson said.

After getting a warrant to search the home, because the missing 2 1/2 hours made police suspicious, detectives and crime scene investigators went inside.

Everything seemed to match the man’s account.

“The physical evidence tends to support his story,” the deputy chief said. “And he’s been very cooperative.”

The angle of the bullet, the position of the body, the signs the back door was forced open and the bag next to the dead man’s body all lent credence to the resident’s account of being surprised by a home invasion and then shooting a would-be burglar to death.

Police have not yet positively identified the dead man. They have a tentative identification, Robinson said, and have some indication he had burgled before.

“He did have a backpack, and inside that backpack he did have several items that are indicative of someone who was burgling homes,” Robinson said.

The investigation, however, is ongoing.

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