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Suspect Shot in Burglary Scuffle

By Steve Shoup
Journal Staff Writer
Friday, September 15, 2000

A homeowner surprised a suspected burglar in the Northeast Heights on Thursday, and the suspect was shot twice during a struggle with the homeowner, the Albuquerque Police Department reported.

Neither the name of the suspect nor the homeowner was released Thursday.

The suspect, believed to be in his 20s, underwent surgery at University of New Mexico Hospital. He was in serious condition late Thursday night, hospital spokesman Don Butterfield said.

The incident began about 1 p.m. in the 800 block of Madeira NE, said APD Lt. Bob Huntsman. The homeowner had gone out to shop for a holster for a handgun, and when he came home, he found the front door open and some valuables piled nearby. He went into the home and saw a stranger in one room taking apart a computer.

The homeowner went back outside and got a revolver from his truck, Huntsman said. He went back inside and confronted the suspect at gunpoint.

The suspect said he surrendered, but he suddenly lunged at the homeowner, Huntsman said. During the struggle, the revolver fired, and the suspect was hit in the face with small pellets, Huntsman said.

The suspect apologized and again surrendered, Huntsman said. The homeowner tried to call police but the suspect again attacked. The gun fired again during the struggle and pellets hit the suspect in the left shoulder.

The suspect ran off and collapsed in a yard about a block away in the 800 block of Ortiz NE. Officers found rare coins in his pockets that had apparently been taken from the homeowner, Huntsman said.

Martin Jones lives near the homeowner.

"He's a good guy," Jones said. "He's a big, husky guy."

Jones said he supported the shooting.

"I would, too, if they broke in on me," Jones said.

Huntsman said police were investigating the shooting, and an assistant district attorney was on the scene to review the case.

Huntsman wouldn't say whether the shooting was justified but said state law allows use of deadly force in defense of one's home.

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