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Intruder Chose Wrong House, Shot Dead

Originally ran here as:
"Neighbor: Intruder Chose Wrong House"
by Peggy Breit, Reporter
April 03, 2002

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI -- The encounter only lasted a few frantic moments, but when it was over, the prowler was dead, KMBC 9 News' Peggy Breit reported Wednesday.

Victor Fuentes, 19, was shot and later died after allegedly breaking into a man's house in the 300 block of Mersington Avenue.

The man who lives in the house works nights at the railroad, so he was sleeping about 10 a.m.

He told police that he was awakened to the sounds of someone rummaging through his basement, and then he grabbed his gun.

The intruder was shot and taken to the hospital, where he later died. The homeowner said that as he began looking through his house, the intruder surprised him on the first floor.

"At that time, the prowler made a sudden motion that he took ... as a threatening motion, and he fired the handgun at the suspect," said officer Bob Murphy of the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department.

A bullet penetrated the front wall of the home, and a plate glass window shattered.

"The glass ... woke me up," neighbor Paul Larabee said.

Larabee said he didn't hear gunshots, but he knew why his neighbor owned a gun. Larabee said he owns one, too.

"He's a fine person. I've known him 26 years here. You couldn't find a better person, but they picked on the wrong person to rob," Larabee said.

Other neighbors said that break-ins and robberies are common.

"My wife was in my house sleeping. They broke in, stole the stuff out of my house, and they cleaned Johnny out in broad daylight," neighbor Gary Stuart said.

Police said that a such a situation is not at all the norm.

"Early indications (are that it) appears it is justifiable," Murphy said.

Police said they are still looking for a car that was seen speeding through the back alley and in front of the home.

"I just (saw) the three boys in the car. They went right past me and scared me. (They) almost hit me," neighbor Helen Showers said.

The homeowner was taken in for questioning and released. Charges are not expected, Breit reported.

Police did not say whether the prowler was armed. The homeowner said he did not know Fuentes.

Investigators are still looking for three men in a blue car, but they said they are not sure what role, if any, they had in what happened, Breit reported.

Neighbor: Intruder Chose Wrong House

Originally ran here as:
"Homeowner Shoots, Kills Intruder"
April 03, 2002

KANSAS CITY, MO -- A homeowner shot an intruder Wednesday morning at his residence in Northeast Kansas City.

It happened at about 10 a.m. at 340 S. Mersington, which is just north of Independence Avenue.

The intruder, 18-year-old Victor Fuentes, died of his injuries.

The homeowner, who works nights, told authorities he was asleep. He woke up when he heard a noise in the basement. He grabbed his gun and went to investigate.

He found and confronted an intruder who broke a garage window and entered the back of the house. When the intruder made a threatening motion, the homeowner shot him.

Paul Larrabee, a neighbor, heard glass breaking. He got his gun and looked outside, but he didn't see anything.

" This is the second time that somebody has tried to break into his house," Larrabee said. " He's a fine person. I've known him for 26 years. You couldn't find a better person, but they picked on the wrong person."

Police took the homeowner downtown to talk to him, but they said it appeared as though the shooting was justified.

The homeowner was so shaken up, he couldn't tell police how many shots he fired. Authorities didn't say whether the intruder was armed.

" The threatening motion that he's described, they'll investigate that, but early indications appears it is justifiable," said Officer Bob Murphy, of the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department.

A witness told police she saw three people in a blue car in front of the house Wednesday morning.

Police found a car that matched that description on Wednesday evening, and they were questioning two men who were in the vehicle. They also were looking for a third man.

Neighbors said they were worried about recent break-ins in the neighborhood.

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