A 93-year-old homeowner in Moreno Valley, California, shot and critically wounded a home intruder Wednesday after facing multiple break-ins.
“The fact is, when they broke in they got a lot of my equipment and I approached them to put them under citizens arrest,” Joe Teague told KNBC-TV.
“I kept telling them, I have a shotgun with three shells in it, but I actually only had one. And they kept throwing stuff at me,” Teague said.
When the men refused to stop attacking the elderly homeowner, he opened fire, striking one of them, who is in critical condition, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office told the station.
The incident occurred just past midnight Wednesday morning in Moreno Valley, police said in a news release.
A group of men had broken into Teague’s home to steal his property when Teague confronted them.
Just before 12:30 a.m., Teague called dispatch, notifying them that he had multiple home intruders at gunpoint.
When police responded to the scene, they found that the other intruders had fled from the house, except for the one who lay injured. Teague was uninjured.
The intruder — identified as 33-year-old Moreno Valley resident Joseph A. Ortega — was given first aid and then taken to the hospital, where he remains in critical condition.
In the investigation that followed, police learned that the other home intruders had fled just as the shooting began, the news release stated.
Because of Ortega’s condition, Central Homicide Unit investigated the incident.
Teague was taken to Moreno Valley Station, where he was questioned and released.
Teague’s grandson-in-law Oscar Malma told KNBC that Teague’s home had been burgled several times before Wednesday.
“It happened once on Friday, Friday they went to break in the house. And now this happened in the middle of the night. They were looking for him,” Malma said.
According to Malma, after Teague lost his wife, he moved in with his daughter. For that reason, he was not at his house often.
“He’s an old retired plumber and he has a lot of tools. He was a musician as well, so he has a lot of musical instruments. Little by little they’ve been ripping him off,” Malma said.
“I don’t blame Joe. He’s been working all his life, he’s 93. He’s been working on his life and whatever little things he has, he needs to protect them,” he added.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department determined that Teague was justified in the shooting, according to the news release, and therefore would likely not face criminal charges.
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