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Man successfully defends home against four invaders

Originally ran here as:
"Break-in attempt leaves 1 man dead
Another critical after trailer occupant fires"

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Saturday, April 28, 2001

GREENWOOD, KENTUCKY — One man is dead and another was in critical condition with two gunshot wounds to the head after an apparent home invasion early Friday in rural Pendleton County.

Justin Davis, 24, called 911 at 5:40 a.m. and said he shot at four men attempting to break into his trailer, according to Kentucky State Police. When Pendleton County sheriff's deputies arrived, they found one man dead.

The dead man was identified late Friday by Kentucky State Police as Robert E. Gibson Jr., 23, of Cincinnati. Police had no address for Mr. Gibson.

A second man showed up at the Falmouth police station, shot twice in the head. He was driven there by a third man who allegedly was trying to break into the trailer.

The fourth man, at the trailer three-quarters of a mile from the main road, was left with no vehicle and Mr. Davis firing at him, police said. That man was seen banging on doors and windows of homes up and down Portland-Greenwood Road, asking for a ride.

The man, wearing a T-shirt, khaki pants and green socks, offered 17-year-old James Peters $200-$300 for a ride to neighboring Bracken County.

“His pants were ripped and it looked like he had ran through mud,” the Pendleton County High School sophomore said. “He didn't show me any cash. I was getting suspicious.”

James said his mother called police from the house and the mysterious man wanting a ride was picked up by a sheriff's cruiser.

The man shot twice in the head is Pat O'Brien, 47, of Newport. He was in critical but stable condition at University Hospital, a nursing supervisor said.

The two other men who were allegedly breaking into the trailer were being questioned at the Pendleton County Sheriff's Office on Friday evening. State police wouldn't identify them, but James Peters described the man wanting a ride as being in his early 20s with a bald head.

No one had been charged with any crimes as of Friday night.

Mr. Davis rented the trailer about two months ago, said Landon Caldwell, the son of the couple who own the trailer.

Mr. Caldwell's parents own more than 400 acres in Pendleton County. The farm has been in the Caldwell family for at least three generations.

The trailer sits away from Portland-Greenwood Road. The narrow and curvy road is about 6 miles from Butler.

Mr. Caldwell said his family didn't know Mr. Davis before they rented him the trailer. They didn't know whether others lived at the trailer with Mr. Davis, but they did confirm he owned several dogs, believed to be pit bulls.

“We pretty much stay out of his business,” said Mr. Caldwell, who was staying at his parents' home, 1 1/4 miles away on the same farm.

“Kind of makes you wonder about the safety of our home,” James Peters said. “If they were trying to break in and rob him, who might be next?”

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