Man shot when he comes home to burglary; 3 suspects on the loose

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

BUCKEYE, Ariz. -- Three suspects are on the loose after a shooting that sent a Buckeye man to the hospital early Friday morning.

It happened shortly before 5:30 a.m. in the neighborhood southeast of Watson and Yuma roads.

Early reports were that a homeowner, a man in his 30s, was ambushed by two men and shot in the leg while he was taking out the trash.

According to Lt. Jared Griffith of the Buckeye Police Department, that homeowner told police one of the suspects was wearing mask.

"One of them was armed with an assault rifle. The victim was armed with a handgun," Griffith said. "A shootout occurred actually in the middle of the street."

Several cones in the street marked the locations of the bullet casings. Police have found three bullet holes in three separate areas throughout the neighborhood -- two in houses and one in car window.

Police later learned that the homeowner came home to his discover that his house was being burglarized. He noticed this while he was swapping his trash and recycling bins. The man then went back to his car to get his gun. Police say that's when he was confronted by the two men and bullets started flying.

The two suspects fled the scene in a dark SUV. The homeowner, who by then had been shot in the leg, jumped into his own car and went after them.

While all of this was going on, a third suspect was in the house and had locked all of the doors. That person was was later spotted jumped over a fence behind the home.

Griffith said investigators do not have a good description of any of the suspects or the SUV.

At this point, detectives do not know what led up to the shooting and are not sure if the victim was acquainted in any manner with the suspects.

Investigators are looking into the victim's story and talking to witnesses as they try to piece together exactly what happened.

"These incidents don't occur every day and sometimes there are underlying factors," Griffith said.

No other injuries were reported. The victim's leg injury is not life-threatening; he is expected to recover.