Central California man wins praise for defending siblings from group of home intruders

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A man defended his three younger siblings in a shootout inside their Central California home early Tuesday, killing one intruder and sending a second to the hospital with serious injuries, officials said.

Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said the 22-year-old man defending his family was also shot in the early morning gun battle but expected to survive after undergoing surgery. Investigators continue to search for one or two more suspects. Boudreaux said the multiple bullet holes the family's home showed signs of a violent exchange.

"I can tell you, this was a gun battle," he said, expressing praise for the man who defended his family. "He was in a fight for his life inside his own home."

Boudreaux said the man was asleep at the home in rural Tulare County near the community of Orosi. At about 5:30 a.m., Boudreaux said he heard somebody kicking down the door, so he took his siblings — ages 8 to 18 — into another room. He grabbed a gun and the shooting started.

Arriving to the home, deputies found one of the intruders dead on the front driveway. Boudreaux said a video surveillance camera captured the injured suspect being dropped off at a hospital by an Astro minivan. The suspect underwent surgery and remains in serious condition, said Boudreaux, adding that none of the younger siblings was hurt.

Investigators said it was too early to determine if there was a past history between the intruders and the family, or if drug and gang ties may have led to the encounter.