Police told TheBlaze on Wednesday that no charges will be filed against a Florida father and mother who armed themselves after hearing an intruder breaking into their home and fired shots at the man, killing him.
“If this guy would’ve stayed home, he’d have been alive right now,” Denver Kemp, a neighbor of the family, told WTVT-TV in Tampa Bay.
Winter Haven Public Information Officer Jamie Brown told TheBlaze on Wednesday that a son who was armed along with his mom and dad "fumbled around with the weapon and did not fire."
Luis A. Pena, 54, told police when he investigated the noises he saw a man trying to open the French doors leading off his back porch, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Pena fired a warning shot above the back door to deter the burglar, but the man continued to work his way inside the home in Winter Haven, which is about 50 miles east of Tampa.
"That warning shot did not deter the intruder," Police Chief Gary Hester told WTVT about the Monday morning incident. "The intruder didn't retreat."
But by the time Mitchell G. Large, 40, made it into the kitchen just before 7 a.m., Pena's wife and son had also armed themselves and the three of them were waiting for the intruder. When Large charged at Pena, he shot the man in the torso at least once, police said, noted the Sentinel.
"It appears at least two of the family members fired in defense of themselves and their property," Hester told WTVT.
While investigators don't believe Large was armed, Hester said it appears as though the mother and father were within their rights to fire their weapons.
[sharequote align="center"]“If this guy would’ve stayed home, he’d have been alive right now."[/sharequote]
"That's the way that I would react. I'd hate to do that; I'd hate to shoot anybody. But if it comes to me or them, I would," Kemp added to WTVT. "I hate that he died, but you got to take a stand against this people that's doing this stuff."
"It's not a very far reach to assume that if someone's forcing their way into your residence early in the morning, they're not there to wish you well," Hester told WTVT. "That's your castle that a reported intruder is coming into, so whether he was armed or not armed, when he failed to retreat, they certainly had a right — if it turns out this way — would have a right to defend themselves."
Hester said the Penas told detectives they didn't know Large. The family's 20-year-old daughter was also in the home but didn't witness the incident.
This story has been updated.