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East County News Service

March 11, 2018 (El Cajon) — Awakened by his dogs barking, a homeowner in the 1100 block of Mona Place near West Chase Avenue looked outside around 1:15 a.m. and reportedly saw a man breaking into his vehicle parked in front of the house. 

“The resident armed himself with a handgun for his safety and went outside to confront the suspect,” says Lt. Walt Miller with the El Cajon Police Department, which responded to a 911 call reporting the sounds of gunfire.

A press release issued by ECPD indicates police believe a confrontation occurred and that the homeowner shot at the suspect multiple times, striking him at least once.

The suspect fled in his own vehicle and crashed into the front yard of a house in the 1000 block of Chase.  Officers and paramedics responded to the crash scene, where the suspect was pronounced dead.

El Cajon Police Homicide Detectives are investigating this incident. There are no outstanding suspects and no arrests have been made.

“The victim is cooperating with this investigation,” says Lt. Miller.

 Identity of the suspect, age 32, has not been released pending notification of kin by the San Diego Medical Examiner’s office.


Possible problems

If investigators and DA apply CA law regarding "Castle Doctrine" this guy could be prosecuted for something. By not calling 911, securing doors/windows & exiting his home he put himself & possibly his family at risk. CA has no stand your ground laws & every 911 operator will instruct the caller to NOT exit the home.

Shooter in trouble now

Will the homeowner who shot the thief (who died) go to jail and eventually be prosecuted for manslaughter? I believe it's quite possible due to the circumstances. He was not in his house at the time, and probably would not have been defending his life if he had not gone outside and confronted the man. The shooter thought he was doing the right thing and within the laws guidelines, but I have my doubts. Good luck. If it were not for a thief, and protection of one's property...

Defending property

is not by itself an acceptable defense for shooting a thief or would-be thief.

If it became a matter of self defense, however, such as if the thief was armed and pulled a gun on the homeowner and threatened to shoot, then the homeowner's actions could be justifiable legally.  We don't know what he told the officers, or if there was any withess.

But folks, if you see someone breaking into your vehicle, it's wisest to just call 911 and let the police or sheriff deal with the criminal .  Confronting an intruder is dangerous -- you could be shot, stabbed, or if you harm the intruder, you could wind up in jail. 

Also it's wise not to leave valuables in your vehicle, since insurance will cover most costs associated with a stolen vehicle, but not property inside the vehicle which may however be covered under a homeowner or renter's insurance policy.