Off-duty police officer shoots alleged home intruder

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

TOLLESON, Ariz. – An alleged burglar picked the wrong home to mess with, and it landed him in the hospital in critical condition.

Police say a teen broke into a Tolleson home, located near 91st Avenue and Lower Buckeye Road on Tuesday afternoon.

The noise woke up the homeowner – an off-duty 26-year-old Tolleson police officer – who was napping upstairs.

“He heard a large crash, grabbed a gun that he has upstairs, went downstairs to see what the crash was and was confronted by an intruder in his home,” said Sgt. Trent Crump with the Phoenix Police Department.

The intruder is described as a 17-year-old African-American male. His name hasn’t been released by investigators.

“The individual was turned away from him was turned away from him at the current time and as he challenged him, when he came down the stairs, the intruder produced a large rock that he had in his hand…at which time the homeowner fired one round,” said Sgt. Crump.

The suspect was hit in the head.

The off-duty officer, who has been with the Tolleson Police Department for 4 years, helped administer aid according to officials and called 911.

The suspect was taken to the hospital in critical condition.

“I got a text from some friends that said that they saw a group of four teenagers walking around the neighborhood and they were like ‘Hey, they look a little suspicious.’ And I said, ‘okay, we will keep our eyes out just in case.’” said Monae Six, who lives in the neighborhood and got a text a short time before officers responded to the home.

“I don’t know if he’s alive or not but I hope to God he’s still alive,” said Demarkus Muhammad, who says he’s the suspect’s older brother.

“When he left he said he was going to be back because he was going to do something real quick and he left and I guess he caught up with his friends," said Muhammad. "I guess he was stupid enough to go with it, and the dude shot him,”

Muhammad said he doesn’t approve of his younger brother’s alleged actions, but is extremely worried about him. “All I hope is that he’s still alive and he can come back home.”

Meanwhile, neighbors are defending the officer.

“If you feel scared you have the right to protect yourself…It makes me want to be a little more aware of my situation and maybe report some things if I do see things. It also makes me want to consider having weapons in my home,” said Six.