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Burglar killed in confrontation with homeowner

Originally ran here as:
"Burglar killed in confrontation with resident"
by Leanora Minai
St. Petersburg Times
November 20, 2001

Deputies say the burglar squirted the resident with pepper spray, but the resident returned fire. A third man fled the scene.

SEMINOLE, FLORIDA -- A man was fatally shot Monday during an attempted home burglary next to Seminole City Park.

The man, whose name was not released, was shot two or three times after squirting the resident of 11600 75th Ave. N with pepper spray, said Cal Dennie, a Pinellas County Sheriff's Office spokesman

Homicide investigators were searching Monday night for another man who sped from the home in a Ford Explorer, leaving behind a roll of duct tape and a pair of gloves.

The resident was being questioned by sheriff's investigators Monday night. His name was not released.

No arrests were made.

Authorities refused to discuss details of the incident, saying only that two men drove a 1999 gold Ford Explorer with Pennsylvania tags into the resident's driveway at 3:30 p.m.

One man entered the house; the other remained outside with the vehicle.

The man who went inside confronted the resident and squirted him with pepper spray. Some neighbors said they heard arguing before the gunshots. After the shots, the man outside ran two doors west on 75th Avenue N.

"He had that deer in the headlights look about him," said neighbor Nancy Creus, 46, who was outside grouting tile.

Creus saw the man and mentioned matter-of-factly something about the firecrackers being loud. But he did not respond.

"He appeared very nervous," she said. "He was shaking."

Creus said he dropped duct tape and gloves and ran back to the driveway. He jumped in the Ford Explorer and failed to halt at the stop sign as he drove away.

She went to check on her neighbor.

"He opened the door just a little bit," Creus said.

She asked him if he was okay.

"I'm okay," she said he replied. "But I shot him."

He told her she needed to go.

Deputies arrived soon after and cordoned off the street with yellow crime tape.

"There's got to be more to it than meets the eye. Much more to it," said neighbor Pete Gilberti, 63, who had the day's mail in his hands.


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