Clearwater, FL – A Florida woman with a legally-owned firearm fatally shot an intruder who attacked her while she was asleep in her bed on Tuesday morning, according to police.
The terrifying ordeal occurred at 1639 Flagler Drive shortly before 8:49 a.m. on June 21, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Clearwater Police Chief Dan Slaughter said the unidentified woman was home alone, asleep in her bed, when she suddenly came under attack, according to WTSP.
Investigators later identified the intruder as the woman’s neighbor, 26-year-old Justin William Wright, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Chief Slaughter said that while the woman was being attacked, she was able to call 911 for help.
She was still on the phone with the police dispatcher when she reached for her gun and fired one round at Wright, hitting him and stopping the assault, the chief said.
“She was able to reach out and call 911 during this attack, but the attack persisted,” Chief Slaughter explained, according to WFLA. “At which time, she was able to retrieve a gun that she had lawfully.”
The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Police said they do not believe he had any weapons.
Chief Slaughter said the victim had injuries that were “consistent with” the assault, according to WTSP.
Investigators are still working to figure out how Wright got into the woman’s apartment and a possible motive, Chief Slaughter said.
The victim had recently moved into the apartment and police will determine whether or not she knew Wright prior to the attack, WTSP reported.
“At this time, there’s no information for us to believe it’s anything other than [self-defense],” Chief Slaughter told reporters.
“We certainly don’t just chalk it up to self-defense and move on,” he added, according to WFLA. “There is an awful lot of work that has to occur. The crime scene is going to be investigated just like any other death or murder or homicide or as in this particular case, potentially a justified homicide.”
Chief Slaughter said the victim was devastated by the incident, as well as for having to resort to the use of deadly force, WTSP reported.
“Good people don’t want to have to do this kind of thing to protect themselves, so she’s upset,” he said.