crimesider

Another arrest in robbery where homeowner killed female intruder

LONG BEACH, Calif. - Another suspect has been arrested for a robbery at a California home where an 80-year-old resident said he shot and killed a burglar who claimed she was pregnant as she tried to flee.

Long Beach police said Ruby Adams, 49, was booked for burglary. She is the mother of 26-year-old Gus Adams, who was arrested Wednesday. The other suspect in the robbery, Andrea Miller, 28, was killed at the scene.

Long Beach resident Tom Greer told KNBC-TV that the young woman had said she was pregnant and pleaded with Greer not to fire but he shot her twice in the back as she tried to run away.

An autopsy later found that Miller was not pregnant, said Ed Winter, a coroner's office spokesman.

Police are investigating to determine whether Greer could face charges in the case.

"Long Beach police are still investigating," said Sarah Ardalani, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. "It's ongoing and so we're waiting at this point."

Prosecutors filed murder, burglary, robbery and weapons-related charges against Gus Adams, a suspected accomplice of Miller. He was being held on bail of more than $1 million.

The murder charge is possible because Adams is accused of participating in a felony that led to a death, said Long Beach police Chief Jim McDonnell.

"Through the course of the investigation, it was determined that a third suspect was involved in the residential robbery," Long Beach police said in a statement.

Police did not say what role Ruby Adams was suspected of playing in the robbery, but said she had been arrested and was expected to be charged Monday.

McDonnell said Greer came home around 9 p.m. Tuesday and surprised Gus Adams and Miller, who were trying to break into a safe. They assaulted him, breaking his collarbone, before he was able to get a handgun, the chief said.

Police said Greer fired shots inside and outside his house.

Under California law, homeowners have a right to protect themselves with deadly force inside their homes and in the immediate vicinity - such as a patio - if they feel they are in imminent danger of great bodily injury or death, said Lawrence Rosenthal, a former federal prosecutor who teaches law at Chapman University.

But this case enters a gray area because Greer, by his own account, chased the burglars and fired at them outside his home as they were fleeing, Rosenthal said.

"The problem here is that all this happens very fast and his legal right to use force probably ended just a few seconds before he did use deadly force," Rosenthal said. "So the question is, should you charge somebody on the basis of what really was a series of split-second decisions when he's just been robbed and physically assaulted?"

McDonnell declined to say how many shots were fired or to confirm that Miller was shot in the back.

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