The homeowner told KATU-TV that after his Vancouver, Washington, residence was broken into two years ago, he had security cameras and an alarm installed.
And it was that alarm that gave him the head's up that his home was being broken into again Thursday night, the station said.
What are the details?
Police told KATU that the suspect kicked open a back door of the home after 10 p.m. and was inside when the homeowner confronted him.
Then the burglary suspect charged the homeowner, investigators told the station.
But in addition to security cameras and an alarm, the homeowner also had a gun. Police said the homeowner fired it and hit the suspect, who fled out the door, KATU reported.
The suspect, who has not been identified, was found dead where he collapsed outside in the back of the property, police told the station.
Police said the homeowner and his family were not injured, KATU noted.
Criminal defense attorney weighs in
The station spoke with criminal defense attorney Kris Carrasco, who said homeowners have a right to protect themselves. Washington is a Stand Your Ground state, KATU said.
"In a self-defense situation you do not have a duty to retreat," Carrasco told the station. "You don't have to run away before asserting your right to self-defense."
Image source: KATU-TV video screenshot
But he also warned homeowners that there is such a thing as using too much force when defending themselves, KATU noted.
"You can't bring a gun to a fist fight," Carrasco told the station, adding that "for a mere trespass to property, you can't use a gun and shoot to kill if someone is just doing a crime against your property. There has to be actual threat to your life."
The attorney also noted to KATU, "The question is, 'What's the severity of the assault?' Is there a reasonable belief of serious injury or just a normal assault?"
'Homeowners have a right to protect themselves'
Mike Murphy lives nearby and told KOIN-TV that "homeowners have a right to protect themselves. You can't just expect to break into somebody's home and there's not going to be repercussions to their actions."
A woman who lives in the neighborhood agreed, telling KOIN she's sorry someone died "for trinkets or whatever. It wasn't worth it. But I totally support the homeowner's desire to protect themselves."