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Prosecutor puts lead in purported pilferer

Prosecutor puts lead in purported pilferer
Originally published on The Daily Courier (June 5, 2000)

PRESCOTT, AZ - Gary Kidd didn't know for sure what to think when he heard noises in his Joseph Street home this morning, but the deputy county attorney at first feared the worst.

"I honestly thought it was a gang hit," said Kidd, who now works in the civil division of the prosecutor's office after spending several years trying drug cases.

Kidd was indeed a target, but not of the type he imagined. And the man he shot and wounded in his bedroom, 20-year-old James Heath of Prescott, was not an assassin.

Heath and two others, Chad Anderson, 19, and Ryan Clark, 17, are in jail facing burglary charges after police tracked them down after the 1 a.m. incident in Kidd's home. Heath suffered gunshot wounds to his buttocks, his upper arm and a hand --

none life-threatening.

Prescott Police Department spokesman Sgt. Shane Reed said investigators suspect the trio of choosing to burglarize Kidd's house after Kidd didn't respond to his doorbell. They allegedly broke out a window on the lower floor of the home and, thinking they were alone, went about their business of taking Kidd's property, including his prized musical instruments and equipment.

Kidd said an air cleaner in his bedroom may have prevented him from hearing the doorbell, but it did not drown out all the noise the suspects made in his home.

"The first thing I heard was some boxes dropping," Kidd said.

Awake from that sound, he said he saw a light come on in the upstairs portion of the house. That's when he went for his gun.

"I thought, this is a hit or something," Kidd said. "I had a .25 in the desk, and I got it and racked it."

Just then, he said, his bedroom door opened and Heath entered the room. Kidd said he told the intruder to freeze, but did not get the response he desired.

"He spun toward me, his hands came up and I fired," Kidd said.

"I didn't know what he was going to do."

All three suspects fled the home, and it wasn't until police were interviewing Kidd's neighbors that they got a break in the case. One of the witnesses saw Clark drive by and pointed him out to officers, who stopped him and allegedly found evidence of another burglary in the car.

Clark reportedly told officers he had been with a man named Chad, and a search of the department's computer led to Anderson's residence, where officers found both remaining suspects, including Heath, who had wrapped his gunshot wounds in cloth.

Officers took him to Yavapai Regional Medical Center where doctors treated his wounds before releasing him back to police for booking.

Reed said that, from what he knows now, he has no question Kidd was within his rights to shoot the intruder.

"Unless the evidence shows otherwise, we're not going to second-guess his decision," Reed said. "People can defend themselves, absolutely, if they feel that their lives or the lives of others are threatened."

Investigators have found no evidence that any of the three suspects were armed. As for Kidd, he said he planned to go to work, after taking care of some business around the house.

"I think it worked out pretty well," he said, "except for the broken window and the cds all over my living room."

Police believe they have recovered most or all of Kidd's property, and are investigating the three suspects for possible involvements in other recent burglaries in the area.

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