Pittsburgh police officers responding to a burglar alarm on Sunday fatally shot the homeowner who was firing at the intruder, ABC News reports.
It was “a horrible chain of events” that resulted in the death of Christopher Thompkins, Pittsburgh acting Police Chief Scott Schubert said, according to the Associated Press. Police investigators are looking at ballistic evidence and trying to sort out what happened.
In the meantime, the police arrested the suspected intruder, and identified him as 23-year-old Juan Brian Jeter-Clark. He’s charged with criminal trespassing. The police did not immediately say whether he was armed.
Thompkins’ ex-wife, Brenda Richmond Thompkins, said the two of them woke up in bed to find the intruder standing over them, ABC reported. Her former husband took her gun and chased the intruder down the steps and toward the front door.
Not realizing that the police were on their way, Thompkins fired the weapon to scare the intruder. The police returned fire, hitting Thompkins.
CBS News Pittsburgh reported that Thompkins, 57, “never should have had a gun in his hands.” An online criminal court records check found that he was incarcerated in 1994 for shooting and killing someone. Under his conviction, Thompkins is prohibited from possessing a gun, CBS said.
Richmond Thompkins said her ex-husband was not firing at the police, according to ABC News. If the police had identified themselves, he would have put down the gun, she added.
While the investigation is ongoing, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said the two officers involved in the shooting are on administrative leave, under department protocol.