Homeowner wounds home-invasion suspect in shootout; 2 on the loose

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by Catherine Holland

Video report by Jill Galus

Posted on March 18, 2014 at 6:49 AM

Updated Thursday, Mar 20 at 12:58 PM

Map: Meridian and McKellips

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APACHE JUNCTION, Ariz. -- A 59-year-old homeowner shot and wounded one of three suspects who broke into his home.

It happened Monday night in the area of Meridian Road and McKellips Boulevard near the Usery Mountain Recreation Area in Apache Junction.

According to the Pinal County Sheriff's Office, there was a shootout between the homeowner and the three suspects.

One of those suspects, identified by PCSO as Sal Anthony Olmos, 19, of Mesa, was wounded, but is expected to recover.

"Sal had a non-life-threatening shotgun wound to the upper part of both of his legs," spokesman Tim Gaffney said in a news release.

Gaffney said Olmos told deputies that one of the four people who live in the home owed him a significant amount of money -- thousands of dollars.

"Sal admitted he went to the home with two other suspects to collect the money," according to Gaffney. "He admitted they were all armed and brought 'black zip-ties' so they were 'prepared for whatever.'"

Investigators say the homeowner heard Olmos and his accomplices at his back door. When he checked his security camera, he saw the three armed men, all of them wearing hoods. That's when the men started kicking the back door.

"The homeowner used a shotgun and fired one round through his backdoor," Gaffney explained. "Another one of the residents inside of the home fired one shot from a pistol through the door after he saw laser sights pointed at his head from the individuals outside."

The suspects returned fire before running away.

Wounded by the homeowner's shotgun blast, Olmos was not able to get far. His accomplices left him behind.

Deputies found Olmos in a neighbor's yard. They recovered zip-ties, a hooded sweatshirt and a .45-caliber handgun, as well.

"Sal Olmos admitted to shooting the handgun into the home and being high on methamphetamines for several days," Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said. "When he was arrested, he had 2 grams of crystal methamphetamines in his pocket."

Deputies booked Olmos on a variety of charges, including attempted first-degree burglary, aggravated assault, weapons misconduct and drug possession. Babeu said there could be more charges pending the outcome of the investigation.

The other two suspects remain on the loose. Investigators have not released descriptions of those men.

The homeowner, who declined an interview with 3TV, told investigators that he does not know Olmos or his accomplices and does not owe them anything.

Apache Junction is about 40 minutes east of Phoenix.

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