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Short wait, gunfire nets suspect in burglaries
By Christina Leonard
Originally published 3/09/2000, Arizona Republic

To put a stop to a string of burglaries, Bret Hutchison, 25, hunkered down in his garage and armed himself with a handgun, a baseball bat, chips and even something to go to the bathroom in. 

But he didn't have to wait long. 

In fact, he stayed hidden a little more than an hour before he heard thumping sounds. 

Soon after, Charles Richard Milhoan, 34, was flown by helicopter, with multiple gunshot wounds, to a Valley hospital. 

Detectives are still investigating Tuesday's east Mesa shooting, but they said preliminary findings indicate that Hutchison "will most likely be cleared on self-defense." 

Milhoan could face burglary or theft charges.  

The shooting happened about 5:45 p.m. at a home in the 500 block of South 97th Way, said Sgt. Don Rosenberger, a spokesman for the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. 

Hutchison told investigators the following: 

Milhoan lives in a trailer house connected to a garage, where Hutchison stored property. 

"They've had stuff missing of late," Rosenberger said. "And they can't pin it down." 

So, Hutchison decided to hide in the garage Tuesday and wait. 

Hutchison reported he heard somebody crawling through a vent that connects the garage to the house. And once the burglary suspect climbed down stairs into the garage, he saw Hutchison. 

Hutchison reported that Milhoan threw a brick at him. 

"When Milhoan reaches toward his back area and says he's going to kill him, Hutchison closes his eyes and shoots," Rosenberger said.

Milhoan underwent surgery at Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn. He was expected to recover. 

Reach the reporter at or at (602) 444-7972.

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