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New Mexico business owner shoots, kills alleged robber who tunneled his way through store's wall

Aimee Dilger/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A small business owner in New Mexico shot and killed an alleged robber who tunneled his way into the store through a wall. The store owner said he acted in self-defense because he feared for his life.

A business owner recently purchased a smoke shop in the Albuquerque neighborhood the International District. The smoke shop hasn't opened yet, but the store has been broken into twice before. The business owner was concerned about another burglary, so he slept inside the store overnight.

Around 3 a.m. on Saturday, the business owner was awakened by scratching noises. The shop owner realized that a would-be burglar had dug a tunnel into the outside wall of the building. After about an hour of tunneling through the store wall, the alleged robber made his way through a small hole in the wall and knocked down several cases of energy drinks while stumbling into the smoke shop.

The business owner grabbed his gun and claimed that he instructed the alleged robber to vacate the premises. However, the suspect purportedly started waving a large hammer and an axe or a chisel. The shop owner said he feared for his life as the intruder walked toward him.

The owner alleged that he threatened to shoot the man if he kept approaching him and didn't exit the store. The owner said the man continued to swing the tools, so he shot the would-be robber. The shooting killed the alleged intruder.

The business owner then called the police to report the shooting. The Albuquerque Police Department said the alleged robber, who has yet to be identified, had "burglary tools" in his possession.

The Albuquerque Police Department classified the shooting as a "justifiable homicide." The business owner was released from the crime scene after being interviewed by detectives.

"Detectives are working with the District Attorney’s Office as they continue to investigate the business owner's claims of self-defense," the Albuquerque Police Department said in a statement.

The owner has since boarded up the hole that was created by the would-be intruder. The shop owner told KOB that he is installing more security cameras to deter future robberies.

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