Florida police and residents are still searching for answers in the case of a 21-year-old man fatally shot by his neighbor who suspected him of being a burglar.
via Orlando Sentinel
The gunman accused of chasing and killing a 21-year-old man at a west Orlando apartment complex on Thursday told police he was pursuing a suspected burglar and acted in self-defense after he was attacked.
A police account of the shooter’s self-defense claim obtained by the Orlando Sentinel suggests this could be the latest local homicide in which the state’s controversial “stand your ground” law becomes a factor.
Police were called to the shooting just before noon Thursday at the Fountains at MetroWest apartments. They arrived to find 21-year-old Ricardo Sanes dead in the grass, surrounded by six .45-caliber shell casings.
The alleged shooter, 32-year-old Claudius Smith, was caught later Thursday. Smith told detectives that he had shot someone “in self defense,” according to a police report.
Smith said he was inside his house on Carter Street when his girlfriend, looking at a outdoor surveillance monitor, spotted someone in dark clothing “walking around his yard,” who “was last seen climbing over the fence into” the apartment complex.
Smith told police he had been having “a recent problem with burglaries at his house … and he was certain the unknown male was responsible,” a police account states, so he “began chasing the unknown male.”
According to police, Smith admitted jumping the fence into the apartment complex, armed with a .45-caliber handgun, where he said he saw Sanes “looking into windows of apartments as he walked past them.”
Smith admitted pulling his gun and confronting Sanes, and when Sanes tried to walk away, Smith said he grabbed Sanes’ hooded sweatshirt and tried to force Sanes back to his house “so the police could be called.”
Smith told police Sanes “punched him in the mouth and grabbed for his gun.”
“[Smith’s] immediate response was to pull the trigger and fire shots at [Sanes],” a report states. Smith said he feared Sanes was armed “because his pants were falling down” and his hands were in his hoodie pockets.
A preliminary examination of Sanes’ body revealed gunshots to his upper back and the back of his neck. Authorities found a .40-caliber handgun “concealed in the crotch area of [Sanes’] pants,” an affidavit states.
When police told Smith that Sanes appeared to only have wounds to his back, Smith reportedly claimed those must have been exit wounds. He admitted he didn’t know Sanes had a gun before police told him.
Smith’s sister told police that, when she saw her brother after the shooting, he was crying and vomiting, and told her he had shot and possibly killed “somebody trying to break into his house,” the report states.
What’s your take on this case, Bossip fam? Is seeing someone that you suspect of being a repeated criminal walking around your neighborhood enough of a threat to shoot them?