LONG BEACH, Calif. – An 80-year-old man who came home to find two burglars said he shot and killed one of them despite her pleas that she was pregnant, but it's the woman's alleged accomplice who has been arrested on suspicion of murder, police said.
Police said they would present their case to prosecutors Friday but were still deciding whether to recommend charges against Tom Greer, who told a television station he shot the woman in the back as she fled from his house.
"She says, 'Don't shoot me, I'm pregnant — I'm going to have a baby,' and I shot her anyway," Greer told KNBC-TV outside his house.
Long Beach police Chief Jim McDonnell said at a news conference Thursday that the woman, 28-year-old Andrea Miller, did not appear to be pregnant, but a planned autopsy would determine whether she was.
However, the surviving suspect, Gus Adams, 26, has been arrested on suspicion of residential burglary and murder, McDonnell said. The murder charge is possible because he is accused of being involved in a felony that led to a death, the chief said. He was being held on bail just over $1 million, and police did not know if he had hired an attorney.
Both Miller and Adams, who had histories of similar crimes, were unarmed, McDonnell said.
Greer had been burglarized three times before and believed the same suspects were responsible.
He returned home shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday to find the pair in his home. Both suspects attacked him, hitting him with their fists and ultimately "body slamming" him to the floor, breaking his collar bone, McDonnell said.
Miller continued to hit him, McDonnell said, while Adams moved to a safe and begin trying to pry it open.
The homeowner was able to get to another room where he grabbed a gun and returned to open fire on the suspects. They fled through the garage and into an alley, and Greer gave chase, firing at them again outside, McDonnell said.
Miller was hit, collapsed in the alley and died at the scene, McDonnell said.
"The lady didn't run as fast as the man, so I shot her in the back twice," Greer told the TV station. "She's dead ... but he got away."
McDonnell would not say whether Miller was shot in the back as Greer said. He also declined to say how many shots were fired and whether either of the suspects was hit inside the house before fleeing.
No phone listing was available for Greer and he could not be reached for comment by The Associated Press.
It will be up to the district attorney to decide whether to charge Greer with a crime, the chief said. Under California law, homeowners can defend themselves if they are in "imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death," he said.
Prosecutors will have to determine whether chasing after the suspects and firing on them outside the home goes beyond self-defense, McDonnell said.