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Cops Responding to Burglary Fatally Shoot Homeowner

Pittsburgh man had rushed to protect mother
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 24, 2017 3:29 AM CST

(Newser) – Police officers responding to a burglar alarm fatally shot a Pittsburgh homeowner, who had grabbed a gun when he spotted an intruder, after shots were fired in their direction as they arrived at his house. Police say they aren't sure who shot at them while they were on Christopher Thompkins' front porch. Ballistic evidence is being reviewed. Thompkins, 57, died in the gunfire before dawn Sunday. Police did not report finding a gun on the intruder, identified as Juan Brian Jeter-Clark, 23. Jeter-Clark was charged with criminal trespass but could face additional counts, the AP reports. Thompkins' ex-wife, Brenda Richmond Thompkins, says she was in bed with him when they spotted an intruder standing nearby.

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She says he grabbed her gun, not realizing police had already been summoned by their burglar alarm company, and then chased after the intruder down some steps to the home's front door because he was worried about his blind mother, who uses a wheelchair and lives downstairs. "He was just saying, ‘My mom, my mom,'" she says. "That's all he was worrying about." She says she doesn't believe Thompkins purposely fired at police and believes he would have dropped the gun had officers yelled out to identify themselves. "They shot the wrong guy. He didn't want to hurt no cops," she tells the Tribune-Review. "He was trying to save his mother." The two officers involved have been placed on leave while the shooting is investigated. (Read more police shooting stories.)

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