PATTERSON (CBS13) – A man was found shot and killed in front of a Patterson home early Monday morning. Neighbors say a young man who lives there pulled the trigger, but no arrests have been made.
Investigators aren’t saying much, but neighbors say burglars tried to break into the home in the 1400 block of Shearwater Drive when a 19-year-old man inside opened fire, leaving one suspect dead on the neighbor’s driveway.
Awakened by gunfire, neighbors would find it hard to believe they’d have a crime scene right next door.
“We ran outside and I was standing like right there and I saw a body lying on the ground,” next-door neighbor Sarah Firestone said.
Firestone said her 19-year-old neighbor was initially detained after opening fire on people trying to break into his home around 1 a.m.
“He was getting taken out in handcuffs and kept saying ‘It was in self-defense, it was self-defense,'” she said. “He said that two people tried to break into his house. One of them ran away and he shot the other one, and it was in self-defense because they were trying to break in.”
The alleged burglar who was shot stumbled to a neighbor’s driveway and collapsed.
“They were trying to revive him, but I heard them shake their head and said ‘No, he’s dead,’ and they put the blanket over him,” she said.
Neighbors say the teen was home alone. His parents, who own the home, were away on a camping trip. Stanislaus County sheriff’s investigators are simply calling the shooting a homicide, not identifying it as a home invasion gone wrong.
They say right now they’re looking at all possibilities, including whether the shooter knew the men neighbors say tried to break into his home.
“My take is it’s self-defense,” one neighbor who didn’t want to be identified said. “If somebody’s going to attempt to break into your residence, you have that legal right to protect yourself. He took evasive action and did what he had to do.”
He said the shooting followed another incident at the house several hours earlier.
“I noticed something happening around 9 p.m. where there was a possible break-in,” the neighbor said. “The window screens were broken, at least three of them around the perimeter of the house, so it was obviously clear something had happened.”
The shooting and recent drug activity on the street have neighbors on edge.
“I was planning on moving. Now, the drug bust that happened last week and now this all on my street,” Firestone said. “I have a 1-year-old. It’s not safe.”
Sheriff’s investigators say they’re still talking to neighbors and any one who may have witnessed the shooting to get a clearer picture of what happened.