FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The Allen County Coroner has identified the man who was shot and killed by a homeowner after he attempted to burglarize a home on Melita Street Sunday night.
The coroner determined Ricardo M. Hood, 33, of Fort Wayne, died from gunshot wounds. His death was ruled a homicide.
Hood’s death marks the 35th homicide in Fort Wayne and Allen County in 2013.
While the shooting was ruled a homicide, that doesn’t automatically mean the homeowner will be charged. The prosecutor’s office will determine if the killing was justified.
“It it had to go to that level of lethal force used to protect myself, my property, or my family, that in eyes of courts, is seen as justified homicide,” Michael Joyner, a spokesman for the Fort Wayne Police Department, said. “But, investigators are still putting together a complete package of what they think happened and the prosecuting attorney will have the opportunity to review all that.”
Willis Bolin’s lived across the yard from where the shooting happened for six years.
“I knew he had a gun over there. I knew he wasn’t going to let anyone rob him,” Bolin said. “He’s a real good neighbor and the nicest guy you would ever want to know. If he had to shoot him, he had to make that call fast. He’s not a violent person.”
Police don’t think Sunday night’s attempted burglary is related to the recent string of break-ins on the southwest side of town, but Bolin said burglars, beware.
“It should send a message and if they don’t heed it, I guess they get what they get,” he said.
This is an update to the previously published story below:
A suspect in an attempted home invasion is dead after being shot by the homeowner, according to Fort Wayne police.
Police were called just before midnight Sunday to a shooting at 345 Melita Street, near downtown.
FWPD spokesperson Officer Michael Joyner said a preliminary investigation revealed a burglar attempted to enter the home and was shot by the homeowner in self-defense. Joyner said information was not immediately available if the intruder made it into the house.
The suspect, who has not been identified, was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics. The man’s body was found near the front door of the home on the porch. Joyner said the suspect was a man who appeared to be in his 20’s.
Police recently arrested a man connected to a string of robberies in a neighborhood farther south of Melita Street.
“The details as we know them right now, it appears to be isolated in terms of the burglary,” Joyner told NewsChannel 15 at the scene. “There is no reason to believe it’s one of a series of burglaries that have taken place.”
Joyner said in a separate statement released early Monday morning investigators believe the suspect acted alone.
Joyner did not release information on where the suspect was shot or how many times. The Allen County Coroner’s Office is expected to release additional details later Monday, including an exact cause and manner of death.
Detectives interviewed the homeowner at police headquarters, which is standard procedure.
Joyner said the homeowner was by himself at the time of the home invasion attempt and is a Vietnam Veteran in his 70’s. The man has lived in the neighborhood for decades. He was not injured.
The incident remains under investigation.