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Armed Doctor Stops Burglary - and Burglars

(Published in the news as:  Two men fired on by vet at clinic)

By Travis Baker Sun Staff


Dr. Kenneth Coleman of Shelton, fearing a break-in, apparently kills a suspected burglar early Thursday morning.

A Shelton area veterinarian shot at two men who allegedly broke into his clinic at about

2 a.m. Thursday, apparently killing one of them.

The body of Robert Pete Inman, 18, of Evergreen Drive in Shelton was found in a deep ditch about 250 feet from where authorities say he and the other man burst out of the Coleman Veterinary Clinic after Dr. Kenneth Coleman opened fire.

Inman was shot in the abdomen, Mason County Undersheriff Gary Crane said.

A 25-year-old man suspected of being the second burglar was arrested Thursday afternoon on three outstanding warrants, Sheriff Steve Whybark said.

Coleman and other veterinarians in the Shelton area were warned Wednesday that two people believed responsible for several recent burglaries planned to target a veterinary office.

The warning came from Mason County Sheriff's detectives, who had been working on the earlier burglaries.

Detectives had been told that the two burglars would be armed, would cut the phone lines and steal drugs and whatever else looked valuable. They told the same to the veterinarians, suggesting they set their alarms and take other precautions.

But Coleman didn't have an alarm system and decided to spend the night instead, Whybark said.

At about 2 a.m. Coleman told investigators he was jarred awake by a loud sound he first thought was a gunshot, the sheriff said.

But it was the burglars, breaking in a side door.

He shot at them with a 9 mm handgun and they ran.

Whybark said detectives found guns at a Fir Street residence in Shelton where the second man was arrested. But he didn't know if there was any evidence the intruders were armed, as the warning had indicated.

The clinic's phone lines were damaged, forcing Coleman to drive to town to call for help from a pay phone.

Deputies responded quickly, Whybark said, but didn't find Inman for more than an hour, while doing a sweep of the area in the dark.

Coleman was not taken into custody and Whybark said he does not expect his department will recommend charges be filed against the veterinarian. The phone at Coleman's clinic was busy throughout the afternoon Thursday and he could not be reached for comment.

Reach reporter Travis Baker at (360) 792-9217 or Published in The Sun: 12/08/2000,

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