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Home invader shot and killed by robbery victim

By Dick Cook
Staff Writer, The Times Free Press
http://www.timesfreepress.com
Saturday, January 13, 2001

Chattanooga police are investigating a Friday fatal shooting in connection with a rash of home invasion robberies that has escalated over several months.

"One person who had gathered at the scene said the number of home invasions might be reduced if more occupants acted aggressively."

Police identified the man who was shot and killed as Mica Kaba Townsend, 27. The incident took place at 565 Arlington Ave. Police said two intruders entered the home about 1 p.m. and demanded money. After the men fled, a person inside the residence apparently shot and killed one of the fleeing intruders, police said.

Forty-five home invasion robberies have occurred in Chattanooga since Oct. 31, authorities said. Police define a home invasion as a combination robbery and burglary in which the home is occupied.

Police spokesman Ed Buice said it was too early in the investigation to determine if the men who invaded the Arlington Avenue house Friday are linked to other home invasion robberies in the city.

"The problem we've had with the home invasions is that we aren't getting a good description of the suspects," Mr. Buice said. "These men roughly fit the description insofar as they are black males, and they were wearing masks."

Tiffany Bibbs was one of four people -- including her 11-month-old child -- inside the Arlington Avenue house at the time of Friday's robbery. Two armed men wearing masks entered the home and forced Ms. Bibbs' grandmother, Sarah Cousins, and her friend, Gerald Lamar Beverly, to lie down in the living room floor, Ms. Bibbs said. The men then demanded money, she said.

"One man came back into the kitchen and knocked the phone out of my hand," Ms. Bibbs said. "He said, 'I know you're calling the police,' " she said.

Ms. Bibbs said she put a bottle in her baby's mouth to keep him quiet. The child was not hurt during the incident.

Asked if police may be concerned about vigilantism, Mr. Buice said, "Protecting your home is not vigilantism. Check the definition.''

The suspected intruders kept shouting that they wanted money, Ms. Bibbs said. "I told them that they had all the money we got," she said.

Ms. Bibbs said one man had already left when there was a knock at the front door. "I told the one that was still in the house to go out the back door," she said. "He took the little boy out with him and laid him on the steps."

Ms. Bibbs said her grandmother and Mr. Beverly got up from the floor in the living room, and her grandmother handed Mr. Beverly a gun.

"I picked up the baby and Gerald went over the back porch,'' Ms. Bibbs said. "I heard shots fired and (Mr. Beverly) shot back."

When police arrived they found Mr. Beverly and a neighbor, Chip Bradford, outside the house with guns, and the body of Mr. Townsend lying in the driveway, police said.

The second man left the scene in a white Toyota or Nissan that may have a bullet hole in the rear window, police said. Mr. Buice said he doesn't expect any charges to be filed against Ms. Bibbs, her grandmother or Mr. Beverly. Asked if police may be concerned about vigilantism, Mr. Buice said, "Protecting your home is not vigilantism. Check the definition.''

One person who had gathered at the scene said the number of home invasions might be reduced if more occupants acted aggressively.

"This should have happened a long time ago," said Ray Young of Eastdale. "If a man invades my home and I got the ups on him, I'd shoot him."


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