Crime

Spanaway dad shoots burglary suspect crouched outside his infant’s and toddler’s room

A Spanaway man shot a suspected burglar through this window Feb. 19 after he found the prowler crouched outside the room where his infant and toddler had been sleeping.
A Spanaway man shot a suspected burglar through this window Feb. 19 after he found the prowler crouched outside the room where his infant and toddler had been sleeping. Pierce County Sheriff’s Department

The motion detector light went off, and Dad armed himself and went to check on his sleeping infant and toddler.

When he saw a prowler crouched in the window of the children’s room, he fired, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department said Tuesday.

The agency gave this account of what happened at the Spanaway home, near the 1200 block of 152nd Street East:

A woman called 911 at 2:18 a.m. Monday to say her husband had just shot someone who was trying to break into their home.

Deputies found the suspected burglar in the grass outside the house when they arrived and saw he’d been shot twice. The 24-year-old was taken to a hospital to be treated for the wounds and is expected to survive.

The homeowners told investigators they were sleeping when they saw the motion light turn on and heard footsteps outside. The husband and wife didn’t see anything from the window of their room. When the husband went to the kids’ room, he saw the burglary suspect at the window.

That’s when he told his wife to call 911 and to take the children.

Then he pulled back the curtain of the window and saw the suspect crouched in front of it, inches from the glass.

The husband yelled at the suspect to stop, then fired four shots, hitting the suspect twice.

He feared for his family’s safety, he told investigators.

Surveillance video suggests the same prowler burglarized another home in the area about an hour before the shooting, the sheriff’s department said.

The homeowner in that case also called 911. Someone started his riding lawn mower, took down a bathroom window screen, tried to get into the man’s vehicles and broke into his shed. He told investigators he saw someone running off down his driveway.

The prowler apparently broke the gear shift of the mower, then fled.

The surveillance video shows a suspect who matches the description of the prowler who was later shot, and investigators expect him to be charged in connection to both burglaries.

Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said it’s too soon in the investigation to say whether the shooting was lawful self-defense on the part of the homeowner.

“It’ll be up to the prosecutor to make the final decision, but we did not arrest him,” Troyer said.

It’s not the first time the suspected burglar has been caught prowling, the sheriff’s department said.

The deputies who responded to the shooting recognized the 24-year-old as someone who was arrested for breaking into vehicles on New Year’s Eve outside a Parkland home. He recently was released from jail after he served a sentence of about a month.

In that case, the victims’ dog woke them up, they saw the prowler, and they chased him across a creek. Deputies arrived and yelled for him to wade back across. He did and was arrested. The man said he was afraid of the victims’ dog and that he was sorry.

“The suspect is well known to deputies in the area and to property crime investigators, due to his extensive history of burglary, theft, and vehicle prowls,” the sheriff’s department said in a statement Tuesday.

Alexis Krell: 253-597-8268, @amkrell

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