Watch CBS News

Tarzana homeowner puts neighborhood on alert after shooting trespasser

Tarzana homeowner opens fire on trespasser; Suspect still at large 02:10

A trespasser remains at large after he was allegedly shot and wounded by a homeowner early Monday morning in a Tarzana neighborhood, authorities said.

Tarzana homeowner shoots trespasser
Los Angeles police investigators at the scene of where a homeowner shot a trespasser in Tarzana, Calif. March 22, 2022.  (CBSLA)

At about 6:30 a.m., Los Angeles police officers responded to a report of a single shot fired in the 5800 block of Melvin Avenue, a few blocks north of the 101 Freeway.

According to LAPD Lt. Julie Rodriguez, a homeowner had discovered a transient on a vacant property that he owns.

"It appears a possible transient had breached into a vacant residence," Rodriguez said. "The resident who lives nearby who owns that property became aware that somebody was on his property. We're not sure at this time exactly what happened."

After being struck, the trespasser ran from the scene, the homeowner told officers. He remains on the loose. Authorities learned that the man broke the fence of the yard to gain entry.

The homeowner was detained Monday morning for questioning. He told officers the suspect was struck in his "lower-extremities" and the wound was not life-threatening, Rodriguez told CBSLA. Investigators also took his gun.

"It's most likely going to be some kind of self-defense on the part of the owner who did fire one round at our victim," Rodriguez said.

The homeowner spoke to reporters Monday evening, telling them that the trespasser reached into his pocket before pointing something at him. He said the trespasser also sprayed mace.

"It's a very fast choice," he said, noting how he fired one shot as the homeless man sprayed bear mace in his direction. "At that point in time, I was able to keep him on the floor until I contacted 911."

The trespasser got up and ran, the homeowner said, and was last seen fleeing on Corbin Avenue, north of Hatteras Street.

The homeowner, who asked that his name not be used, told reporters that he installed a series of cameras around the vacant home due to the large number of homeless people who seem to have taken a liking to the residence. Surveillance footage from the backyard of the vacant home showed just that -- a stranger walking through their backyard, perusing the various items being kept there.

"In fact, a car was stolen from our backyard last week," the homeowner said.

As a result, he told his daughters, ages 5 and 10, that they are not allowed to play in their own yard "specifically because we were concerned that somebody would come back - like they did today."

"The only thing on my mind at the time was protect my property, protect my family," the homeowner said, adding that he has warned other residents of a continued threat to their neighborhood.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.