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Roanoke police say no charges are anticipated after a homeowner shot an intruder.
Saturday, August 31, 2013
A person was found dead in northwest Roanoke late Thursday after an attempted home robbery led to gunfire.
Officers were called to the 3000 block of Ferncliff Avenue just before midnight Thursday after reports that multiple shots had been fired in the area.
The police roped off the house where the shooting took place as well as a house next to it and a part of the parking lot at a nearby Shell station. A broken window could be seen at the home where the shooting occurred.
In a statement released Friday, department spokesman Scott Leamon said a person inside the house had used a gun in self-defense to shoot Earnest Neal Jr., 42, of Roanoke. Neal was later found at the gas station, and died at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.
The Shell station where he was found is at the intersection of Ferncliff and Hershberger Road, about four houses down from where the shooting took place and across six-lane Hershberger Road.
Clarice MacIntosh, who lives across the street from where the shooting happened, said she was at home with her 13-year-old grandson and both of them heard shots. Minutes later, she said, the street was swarming with police officers.
“It kept me up all night,” she said.
MacIntosh said parts of Ferncliff Avenue have had issues with crime, but her block of the street has always been safe and quiet. Jenny Bearden, who also lives on the street and heard the gunfire, said she has lived in her home for 50 years and never saw so much commotion. Neighbors said the police were on the street almost all night and searched the neighborhood. A K9 unit was also brought in.
Police did not say how many people were attempting to enter the house along with Neal, who has a lengthy record in the court system dating back to the 1980s. Records show that he was convicted of several crimes in Georgia, including robbery. He has also been charged with crimes in Roanoke, but the status of those charges is unknown.
Leamon said that at this point in the investigation, authorities will not bring charges against the shooter. A fatal shooting in self-defense is rare in the area, but not unheard-of . In 2008, the Commonwealth’s attorney determined that Roanoke pharmacist Bob Kennedy was justified in shooting a man who was trying to rob him in his southeast Roanoke drug store.
In 2009 a Botetourt County resident fatally shot an intruder who was breaking into his home.
Police had not released the identity of the shooter late Friday. A man who answered the door at the house where the shooting occured said he was there when it happened and was still shaken up , but declined to comment further.
MacIntosh said she feels the shooting may have been justified .
“You have a right to protect yourself in your own house,” she said.
Staff researcher Belinda Harris contributed information to this story.
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