Intruder was shot after warning, police say

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Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 13, 2011

A New Carrollton man shot and killed a home invader Tuesday night as the intruder broke through the glass panes of the man's front door and reached through to unlock it, officials and law enforcement sources said.

The 27-year-old resident, whom police did not identify because he is not charged with a crime, was standing in the doorway with a shotgun while the other man, apparently a stranger, tried to break in, police officials and law enforcement sources said.

Someone inside the house, in the 7400 block of Riverdale Road in New Carrollton, called 911 to report the incident as it was happening, and the residents screamed at the intruder that he should leave as he continued to force his hand through the glass, said Maj. Andrew Ellis, public affairs commander for the Prince George's County police.

"Initially, it appears to be a justifiable homicide," Ellis said.

Officers were called to the home about 8:40 p.m., authorities said. By the time they arrived, Ellis said, the intruder was dead on the front porch, shot by the 27-year-old, who lived in the house with his parents.

A woman who answered the phone at the home said her husband had prohibited the family from talking about the case while the police investigation was underway. Asked whether a reporter could talk to her son - who seemed to be the "hero" in the case - she said: "There was no hero. The only thing I can tell you is we are thankful we are alive."

Police identified the man who was killed as Clyde Antwone Rosevelt Howard, 30, of the 6800 block of Riverdale Road in New Carrollton. A woman who answered the door at his apartment, just down the street from where he was shot, declined to comment.

Broken glass was still visible in the door windows Wednesday. The scene seemed an unusual spot for a home invasion. The single-family home is next to a busy four-lane highway and across the road from a chiropractor's office and an open field. There is no sidewalk in front of it.

Ellis said he does not know why Howard picked the house, and investigators do not think he knew the people inside. Online court records show that Howard had faced drug and alcohol charges in the past and had been convicted of manufacturing and distributing drugs.

"Why the suspect targeted the victims' house, we don't know right now," Ellis said. "It appears to be completely random."

Ellis said there was "no indication" that the gun used in the killing was obtained illegally. A law enforcement source said evidence at the scene supported a finding of justifiable homicide. The glass from the door, for example, was pushed inward, indicating that someone had tried to force his way through from the outside, and residents of the home were cooperating with investigators, the source said.

The slaying was the county's 12th in just the first 11 days of the year.


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