911 Call: Homeowner Warns Intruder Before Shooting

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BEDFORD HEIGHTS, Ohio -- Police in Bedford Heights say a Mardale Avenue resident went to his window about 11a.m. Wednesday to investigate noises from next door. That's when, they say, a man apparently trying to break into a neighbor's home came to his house.

The stranger smashed a car window with a flower pot, then broke out a kitchen window. The resident of the home, who police were not identifying on Wednesday, called 9-1-1.

"He just busted out my front window," the caller tells police. "I'm going to ... shoot him if he comes in."

With a police dispatcher on the phone, the caller repeatedly warns the intruder to get away, but the stranger doesn't. The intruder climbs through the open window and once inside tries grabbing a knife.

The struggle is heard over the 9-1-1 call, followed by a man crying out in obvious pain.

"I just shot him," the caller tells police. "He came in my house and I shot him."

"You shot him with a gun?" asks the dispatcher. "Yeah, he came in my house and tried to kill me," the caller answers.

Bedford Heights police say the victim and the intruder had never met one another. A neighbor, who did not want to give his name, recalls having an encounter with the same man about two years ago.

"He had a previous incident with my sister," said the neighbor. "I don't know what his intentions were today but obviously it's not good."

The intruder was taken to a local hospital suffering from a single gunshot wound to the upper abdomen. He was in surgery Wednesday afternoon as detectives were piecing together what happened.

Ohio has a "castle-doctrine" that allows homeowners to use deadly force if they feel it is necessary to protect themselves when they are victims of a break-in.

Bedford Heights Detective Ken Hatcher said a city prosecutor would probably have the last word, but from a police perspective, the shooting was entirely justified.

The prosecutor is, however, expected to file multiple charges against the intruder.

Their determination is made easier by the 9-1-1 recording in which the victim first made a call for help, can be heard repeatedly asking the intruder to stop, and clearly warning him he had a gun.

"He fired once," said Hatcher, who concluded, "Once the threat was nullified, he did not fire again. He stopped and came outside and put the weapon down."

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