After being warned to stay out, a man allegedly broke an apartment window, tried climbing into the unit and was fatally shot by the resident, authorities said.
But it turns out the man’s family has an explanation.
The incident occurred just after 9 p.m. Friday at the Canyon Country Villa apartment complex in Canyon Country, California, the Signal reported, citing Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s deputies.
The resident called 911 to report the shooting of a Hispanic man who he said broke into his unit. Deputies arrived minutes later to find the man with multiple gunshot wounds, authorities said, and the man died later at a hospital.
Witnesses told KABC-TV they heard between five and seven gunshots; a handgun was recovered at the scene.
But later that night outside the shooting scene, the deceased man’s relatives told KTLA-TV that their uncle — who lived at the apartment complex — had been drinking, may have been disoriented and probably thought he was at his unit since each one “looks the same.”
The family members told KTLA that their uncle didn’t speak English and wouldn’t have understood the resident’s orders and that he had difficulty seeing out of one eye.
“He did have a couple drinks, maybe got mad and broke in the window, which he thought was his room. He broke the exact same window, too,” a nephew told KTLA. “He just wanted to go home, that’s it.”
The man’s relatives were across the street at the time of the incident. “It was all a misunderstanding,” another nephew told KTLA.
Family members said their uncle, 44, was a husband and a father to three children — two sons and a daughter. His niece told KTLA he was a “good man.”
“He didn’t mean any harm,” she added. “He did make a mistake.”
The resident was detained by authorities while they investigated but was later released, KTLA reported, adding that a sheriff’s official on Saturday said he was unsure if charges would be filed.