3 Wounded in overnight shootout at home targeted by robbers earlier this month

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Three people were shot overnight at home that was targeted in a home invasion about three weeks ago.

It happened at about midnight in the neighborhood northeast of 83rd Avenue and Thomas Road. A church group had gathered at the home to offer support to the homeowner in the wake of that first robbery.

"You can imagine, as people become victims, oftentimes they reach out to their support groups," said Phoenix Police Sgt. Tommy Thompson.

There were about 20 people, including a few children, inside the home when things turned chaotic.

While they were sitting around talking, they heard banging at the back door. They told police it sounded like somebody was trying to break in.

"They were at the dining room table when this all transpired," Thompson said.

Bullets flew from both inside and outside the home.

"We had an exchange of gunfire," Thompson said.

Police believe a person inside fired first after hearing the noise outside. The suspect shot back with a high-powered rifle.

That suspect got away. The only description police have is from a neighbor who saw a Hispanic man leaving the area in an older model white SUV.

Investigators say there's no evidence of any illegal activity inside the home. They believe the homeowner might have been targeted because he is a business owner.

"The homeowner does own a construction company, which could lend the criminal element to believe that he has money," Thompson said.

The three victims, including the homeowner, suffered minor injuries and are expected to recover. It's not clear if the suspect was hit in the shootout.

Detectives are trying to determine if there's a connection between the robbery three weeks ago and this shooting.

Nobody was hurt in that armed robbery and police have not released any information about what was stolen.

If you know anything about either the robbery are the shooting, call the Phoenix Police Department's Crime Stop line at 602-262-6151 or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS (948-6377), 1-800-343-TIPS (8477) or 480-TESTIGO (837-8446).