As the 55-year-old Miramar homeowner prepared to go outside to investigate a sudden power outage, the man's wife spotted someone crouching by the family cars in the driveway.
Photographer: Jim Donnelly, Sun Sentinel
"Grab your gun," the businessman's wife told him. "Just in case."
The man's daughter called her dad a hero on Monday — the day after he gunned down one of three masked intruders who tried to bull their way through the family's front door.
"He saved our lives," she said.
Under the state law known as the "Castle Doctrine," a person has the right to defend himself and even to use deadly force in defending his home against an intruder.
"He believed that his life was in danger," said Miramar police spokeswoman Tania Rues. However, she added, the state attorney will decide what — if any — charges will be filed.
One of the three suspected intruders was hit by multiple gunshots, said Rues. When police arrived they found him sprawled outside the front door.
Flown by helicopter to Hollywood's Memorial Regional Hospital, he was listed Monday in serious condition. He has not been charged.
At least two other suspects escaped, said Rues.
The drama in the 5200 block of Southwest 149th Avenue, in the gated Reserve at Huntington, began about 11:45 p.m. Sunday with the loss of power, the daughter said. When the family saw that other homes in the neighborhood were not affected, her father decided to go out and look around.
"He was going to go unarmed until my mother told him to take the gun," she said.
As the homeowner cracked open the front door, the three men charged, according to Miramar police. One of the three may have been armed, said Rues.
Shoving his wife to safety in an office off the foyer, the man fell backward while opening fire, according to a riveting account provided Monday by the couple's daughter, who was on the phone with Miramar police.
"I was in another room, and had no idea who got shot," said the daughter, a student in her early 20s.
The only one shot, said Miramar police, was one of the would-be home invaders.
No names have been released by police, and the daughter has asked to remain anonymous. "We're still in shock," she said. "We're just fortunate to be alive."
Rues said it is not known if shots were fired by anyone but the homeowner. He was slightly injured when he fell backward to the floor, his daughter said.
According to news reports from the scene early Monday, police examined a damaged fence that separates the gated community from Coral Cove Elementary School at 5100 SW 148th Ave. That may have provided access to the home.
Police have not established a motive for the attempted break-in. "They were truly innocent victims," said Rues. "Unlike other home invasion incidents where the victims are living lifestyles that attract criminals to target them, these particular individuals did not."
The homeowner's daughter said she was also baffled. "Why us?" she asked.
"It still feels like a movie," she said. "It feels surreal. But my father was a hero."
Staff researcher Barbara Hijek contributed to this report.
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