Shortly before 3 a.m. Friday, the owner of a trim pink home with manicured lawn and landscaping heard a noise in the backyard. He got a gun and stepped out to investigate.
The homeowner saw a man first trying to break into a shed, and then into the house. He fired multiple shots, killing the burglar, Broward Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Keyla Concepcion said.
Deputies arrived at the residence at 8161 SW 11th Street about 3 a.m. North Lauderdale Fire Rescue took the wounded suspect to Broward Health Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
The unidentified homeowner as well as a woman, her 30-year-old son and a 14-year-old granddaughter were in the residence when the shooting occurred. They were unharmed.
A woman at the home declined comment Friday morning, except to say through a closed door: “We’re just happy we’re OK.”
Said neighbor Tom Gerlach, “It’s terrible. It’s scary, very scary.”
In the North Lauderdale neighborhood where the shooting took place, many homes advertise alarm systems with signs posted in front yards according to the Sun-Sentinel. Jaycee Park, which abuts the home, displays a “Keep An Eye On Crime” sign warning that suspicious activities are reported to authorities.
Gerlach, a retired police service aide who has lived in the neighborhood for 28 years, says another home was recently burglarized in the area.
“On Sunday we had a guy try to go over a fence at a house that was burglarized,” he said. “The homeowner saw him go over the fence but they didn’t catch him.”
He said there have been break-ins in the neighborhood, but not shootings.
“A lot of [neighbors] have cameras and alarm systems,” he said. “I don’t set mine at night (but) I’m going to get motion detector lights.”
Boysie Hanson, 71, retired in 2008, and moved to South Florida from Maryland. He lives on 81st Terrace, not far from Friday’s deadly encounter. Because of recent break-ins, his wife scolds him when he leaves the garage door open and unattended, he said.
If crime worsens, he may buy a gun, he said.
In spite of residents’ perception of high crime, the Sheriff’s Office said there has been a 40 percent drop in North Lauderdale burglaries in 2014 compared to 2013.
The specific neighborhood where the shooting occurred had a 42 percent decrease in residential burglaries in the first six months of 2014 when compared to the same time period in 2013, the agency said.
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