Renter shoots locksmith changing locks on foreclosed home

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Locksmith shot while on the job talks to 3TV

PHOENIX - The Valley foreclosure problem turns violent when police say a man shot a person who was sent by the bank to change the locks.

The man living in the home was renting and authorities say the owner did not tell him the home was under foreclosure. Jeffrey Harrison, 40, was arrested on charges of aggravated assault. Several bullet holes can be seen buried into the front door from where he supposedly opened fire on the person coming to change the locks on the foreclosed home.

A woman who lives in the area who did not want 3TV to use her name thought the gunshots were just kids playing with fireworks at first. She says, "I thought they were fireworks, fire crackers, loud ones because they went pop pop." She was shocked to find out violence like that could take place in her quite neighborhood. She admits, "It scared the devil out of me."

Police have not released a possible motive for the shooting but Ken Volk, who is with Arizona Tenants Advocates, says often renters are caught off guard by a foreclosure. Volk tells 3TV, "Therefore, the tenants are left in the dark. The landlords are milking the tenants for every penny they can get and they are milking the banks for every penny they can get." His office gets more than a dozen calls a day from renters who, without warning, get kicked out of their homes by a bank.

That is why Volk is working with lawmakers to pass legislation that would protect renters in a foreclosure situation. Volk explains, "HB-2269 would significantly change that. It would give tenants forewarning of the foreclosure proceeding."

House bill 2269 is already out of committee and headed to the House floor.