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Store owner fatally shoots intruder

Originally ran here as:
"Store owner fatally shoots intruder
Unarmed man entered home above carryout via upstairs window"
By Del Quentin Wilber and Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan
Baltimore Sun Staff
Originally published June 4, 2001

A West Baltimore man shot and killed an unarmed intruder who entered his home late Sunday night through a second-floor window, city police said.

Police are still trying to identify the intruder, who was shot by Fu Tan in his home in the 1800 block of W. North Ave. about 11:50 p.m., police said. After being shot in the upper torso, the intruder jumped through the window, fell to the ground and ran about 100 feet before collapsing, police said.

The man died shortly after midnight Monday at Maryland General Hospital.

Police were continuing their investigation and will eventually turn it over to prosecutors to decide whether to press charges, said police spokeswoman Angelique Cook-Hayes.

Tan, 48, owns Sun Hing Chinese Food Carryout and lives with his wife in rooms above the restaurant. Tanís wife was working as a cashier about 11:45 p.m. when a customer entered and told her that a man was breaking into their second- floor apartment through a window, Tan said.

Tan said he grabbed a gun and flashlight and went upstairs. In a dimly lighted room that was being renovated, Tan confronted the intruder and told him to freeze, he said.

"When I got upstairs, everything happened very quickly," Tan said, speaking in his native Chinese. "I couldnít see his face or who it was, and suddenly he lunged at me."

Tan then fired several shots, hitting the intruder once in the left shoulder, police said. The intruder "ran away and I couldnít even tell if I struck him, and I was very scared."

After the shooting, Tan called police.

Tan said his home was burglarized in early May.

The thief took about $300 in cash and $1,700 in other goods, Tan said.

"When I had those items and money stolen from me, I felt, well, they just took things from me," Tan said. "Iím not going to make a big deal. Letís just forget about it. But when they enter my home when Iím in the building? Thatís a different thing. I feel Iím in a lot of danger. I donít have any safety."

Tan took over the Chinese carryout restaurant about three years ago and moved in above the store. He said he bought the gun, a .38-caliber revolver, a few years ago and has two large Rottweilers for protection.

"I feel that this is just a very unfortunate thing," Tan said. "Last night, I got back from the police

station at 5 a.m., and I couldnít sleep. I feel very bad in my heart that I had to shoot him, but I had no choice. My wife was downstairs. I had asked him to stop moving, but he didnít. I really had no choice."

Tan said he is worried about his safety but has no intention of leaving.

"Itís only a small business, and itís very hard running it. I have no money to move."

Some nearby residents and business owners defended Tanís decision to shoot the intruder. Karen Schaefer, 37, who lives in the 1900 block of Monroe St., said she thought Tan did the right thing.

"I donít think I would have said that much," Schaefer said. "I would start shooting because I was terrified. If he wouldnít have shot him, who knows what could have happened?"


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