Independence homeowner shoots thief attempting to steal his vehi - KCTV5

Independence homeowner shoots thief attempting to steal his vehicle

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Officers say the homeowner fired his gun at the attempted thief and the man returned gunfire. (KCTV5) Officers say the homeowner fired his gun at the attempted thief and the man returned gunfire. (KCTV5)
The man ran away but did show up at an area hospital with a gunshot wound. (KCTV5) The man ran away but did show up at an area hospital with a gunshot wound. (KCTV5)
INDEPENDENCE, MO (KCTV) -

A man is in the hospital after police say a homeowner shot at him while trying to steal his vehicle.

Several people living along Hawthorne Avenue say they've had their cars broken into before. So they say when a homeowner heard his car being broken into it wasn't out of the ordinary. But it escalated quickly when the homeowner confronted the man with a gun. 

"We always try to watch out for each other at night, especially when it is dark," neighbor Rachel Merlos said. "If you are dumb enough to try to take someone else's (car) you are taking the risk of gunfire or a fight."

Merlos lives next door to where the gunfire was exchanged early Thursday morning. Police say a homeowner heard someone breaking into his car and went outside to confront him.

Officers believe he pulled out his gun, and the suspect did the same. Police said the homeowner fired his gun at the man and he returned gunfire.

The homeowner is OK. Police were able to get the suspect into custody when he turned up at a nearby hospital with a gunshot wound.  

Merlos says this isn’t the first time her car was broken in a few weeks ago.

"It just seemed like somebody wanted to just look for easy money. I mean they just rifled through stuff," she said.

Just in the last month, there have been three reported car break-ins within a mile radius of Thursday's attempted theft. In the last six months, that number goes up to nearly 30.

That number, compared to the same time period a year earlier, is about same. And that’s why people living here say they keep a neighborhood watch.

"It heightens my security. I’m more diligent on making sure that the cars are locked. If I see a new vehicle in the neighborhood ... just to see where it goes and make sure it is not just hanging around," Merlos said.

The homeowner involved in the shooting says he was advised not to talk while the case is under investigation.

As of Friday afternoon, the suspect was still being treated in the hospital. 

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