The Washington County Sheriff’s Department is actively investigating a home invasion shooting that took place Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. off Route DD in Belgrade.
Washington County Sheriff’s Department Captain Zach Jacobsen said when they arrived at the house the white male in his 30s, who was reportedly trying to break into the home, was deceased with a gunshot wound to the head.
“There was a single shot fired and what we have determined so far was the resident in the home, who was an elderly male, was sitting down at the dining room table to eat lunch when he saw a truck pull up really close to the house in the yard,” said Jacobsen. “He thought it was odd the person pulled up so close and he had a weapon on the table next to him, for reasons yet to be determined.”
Jacobsen said just as the man was wondering why these people would pull up so close to the house, he got up and went to the door. The suspects immediately start kicking or hitting the door. That’s when the man ran back to the dining room table just a few feet away and grabbed his pistol.
“He had a safety chain that was securing the door shut and the door came open a little ways with the security chain catching it,” said Jacobsen. “At that point he has the firearm in his hand and he points it and fires a shot, which he describes as a warning shot. That’s when he saw two male figures flee from the front porch and he thought they were going to the rear of the home so he ran into the kitchen and locks the rear door.”
Jacobsen said by the time the man made it back to the dining room where he could clearly see out the door, he saw a red or maroon pick-up truck speeding away. He was still not sure of what was going on and he heard another noise.
“He looked out the window and saw the homeowner arriving in his vehicle,” said Jacobsen. “He slightly opened the door and saw the legs of a man through the door. He still didn’t believe the man was down and thought he was going to be harmed. Once the homeowner reached the front of the house the victim opened the door completely and the homeowner told him he thought the man was dead.”
Jacobsen added that just prior to the homeowner arriving, the victim had contacted a family friend and told them what had happened. The friend called 911 for him.
“When we arrived we found the man deceased on the front porch," he said. "There was an aluminum baseball bat near the man’s body and he was wearing gloves.”
Jacobsen said the victim never saw the man fall and it wasn’t until he opened the door that he saw the man’s legs. He still did not believe the man was mortally injured and was in fear of his safety.
Jacobsen said it was a metal door with clear view windows on either side and he shot through one of those windows. The bullet he fired struck the man.
“The man who shot the suspect did not know who he was, however we believe the homeowner did know him," Jacobsen said.
They believe the men's intent was to rob the residence, but they still have a lot of investigating to do. An autopsy is scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday and he hopes they will know a little bit more after that.
Jacobsen believes this was a home invasion gone wrong and the man in the house was trying to defend himself. The sheriff’s department is looking for the other two suspects and they are fairly confident they know who they are looking for.
"We do not believe the community is danger,” said Jacobsen. “We believe this was an isolated incident and this house was targeted. While I was responding I did notify Valley school and put them on a modified lock-down, because I knew school buses would be traveling in the area. That was precautionary and we just wanted to keep everyone safe.”
This is an ongoing story and the Daily Journal will bring more details as they become available.