The burglary suspect was in the backyard of the Alexandria home, trying to break in through a side door. The homeowner, who only wanted to be identified as Mr. King, said he was shaking in terror. So he grabbed his gun.
"It was a little bit terrifying, someone breaking into your house. You don't know what to do…I told the guy to stop but he didn't hear me and then I returned fire at him. Unfortunately I hurt the young man," said King.
The bullet fired from inside the home went through the glass French door, hitting the suspect in the upper body. He was taken to the hospital with a non-life threatening injury and is expected to be okay.
By all accounts, police say it appears to be a home burglary gone bad. A neighbor who was sitting in his driveway across the street saw it all.
"I saw the guy come from the back of the house," said Mr. Willis, who only wanted to use his last name. Just before that Willis heard the gunfire. "It didn't sound that loud. I heard glass before I heard the gunshot," he said.
Police got a 911 call at 8:38 a.m. Tuesday from inside the home on Lenore Lane in Alexandria reporting a break-in. The homeowner said he has a number of guns and believes in protection.
"I didn't even know if I was going to hit the guy. I didn't aim to shoot to kill him or nothing. I'm just glad he's doing fine," King said.
The suspect left a trail of blood down the street. Police caught him around the corner on Telegraph Road trying to wave down or board a bus.
"At this point the working theory is that this was an attempted break in and the homeowner was defending his home," said Officer Bud Walker with Fairfax County Police.
Investigators spent hours going through the home and gathering evidence. Police also took the gun. The would-be thief was described as a young white man wearing all black. As the suspect was trying to get away, Mr. Willis encountered the suspect.
"I asked the young man what's wrong and he said, 'Ow', a loud yell, and then I knew," Willis said realizing the man had been shot. He followed the suspect in his car, but then saw police already had him.The home has a number of motion sensor security cameras. King said he installed them last year after his tires were slashed. According to the homeowner, the video shows the suspect trying to break in.
"He had something his hand. I couldn't tell what it was because of the shattered glass. I saw in the video it was a brick he had trying to break in," said King.
No charges have been filed against the homeowner and the suspect has not been charged yet either. Willis said he heard the suspect mumble as he was running away that "he'd picked the wrong house" and took that to mean because the homeowner had a gun.
When King was asked if the suspect chose the wrong house to mess with he replied "Evidently, yes. I got too many guns." He's glad the suspect is doing fine, but said if the young man is breaking into homes he was probably going to get shot eventually.