SAN FRANCISCO — Northern California police said Friday that a homeowner acted in self-defense when he fatally shot two men during an attempted home invasion robbery.

Brentwood Police officials say surveillance footage from a neighbor’s camera is aiding the investigation.

The footage, obtained by KTVU (https://tinyurl.com/yd2bvs37), shows two men apparently casing the area before entering the garage Wednesday night in Brentwood about 55 miles east of San Francisco.

Neighbor Reggie Nichols told KTVU that the shooter told him the men demanded he open a safe in his garage, which contained the gun. The neighbor says the homeowner often watched television in the garage with the door open.

One of the robbers can be seen through a garage window before two flashes are captured on the video. The video then shows the homeowner apparently shooting his gun outside the garage on his driveway. The neighbor says one of the suspects was wearing a mask.

The homeowner was briefly detained but was not arrested and has not been charged. Police say they are continuing to investigate.

“After being confronted by the armed suspects, the resident/victim retrieved a firearm and fired at the victims in his own defense,” police said in a statement.

Police on Friday declined to release the homeowner’s name. Investigators and the Contra Costa County coroner also declined to identify both suspects, who they say were men in their 30s and lived in nearby Antioch, which is 45 miles east of San Francisco.

Brentwood Lt. Tim Herbert declined to discuss the case in detail.

Self-defense laws vary in each state. California doesn’t have a “stand your ground” law like Florida, where George Zimmerman was cleared of criminal wrongdoing for shooting to death unarmed Trayvon Martin during a confrontation in 2012.

In California, Herbert said a homicide is legal when a victim kills because he fears for his life. “You have a right to defend yourself in your home,” Herbert said.


Information from: East Bay Times, http://www.eastbaytimes.com

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PAUL ELIAS
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