Thursday, March 19, 2009

Florida: Armed Homeowner Drives Away Intruder, Police Say

Tampa, Florida

From the Tampa Bay Online of March 18, 2009
Armed Homeowner Drives Away Intruder, Police Say

A Tampa man faces felony armed burglary charges after a home invasion in Lake Wales this morning.

Police said two children, ages 3 and 3 months, were inside the home at 1261 Grove Ave. about 10:30 a.m. when a burglar pried open a rear sliding glass door with a crowbar. The startled homeowner fired off seven rounds from a .380 handgun.

"It's a disturbing scene especially with children inside. I know the homeowner is shaken up right now," said Lake Wales Assistant Police Chief Christopher Velasquez.

The bullets hit the suspect, 45-year-old Michael Collins, in the head and arm, police said. Collins had parked his van in the home's driveway and tried to drive away but crashed a couple hundred feet away in an orange grove, they added.

Officers apprehended Collins, who was airlifted to Lakeland Regional Hospital for treatment for his injuries. He is expected to recover.

Collins is charged with first-degree felony armed burglary and possession of burglary tools.

Detectives said the homeowner did not know Collins prior to the home invasion.

Neighbor Luis Hernandez praised the homeowner for taking swift action to protect his family.

"We're glad because he's not going to come back here," Hernandez said.

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