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Homeowner Fatally Shoots Intruder Who Was Secretly Living In His Basement

Poolesville, MD – An intruder who was secretly living in the basement of a Poolesville home was fatally shot by the homeowner on Monday.

The homeowner’s father told WTTG that the incident began when his son saw someone outside his home in the 18,000-block of River Road as he was making coffee Oct. 11.

Police said the homeowner called 911 at about 9 a.m. and reported a break-in at his rural residence.

Audio recordings of the 911 calls showed the incident escalated while the homeowner was talking to the 911 operator, WUSA reported.

“There’s a weapon involved,” the dispatcher advised at one point. “It’s going to be a shotgun.”

The dispatcher told police the suspect was “banging on the windows” of the home and then a moment later updated them that the suspect had forced his way inside, WUSA reported.

“Be advised, the suspect is in the house,” the dispatcher told the responding officers. “The complainant is firing his weapon at the subject. There’s shooting in the background as well.”

The homeowner fatally shot the intruder later identified as 34-year-old Harry Trueman Powell of Washington, DC, WUSA reported.

Police said the homeowner was outside the home when officers arrived.

“Have the complainant leave the gun on the truck, be unarmed, with his hands up, at the end of the driveway at River Road,” a responding officer told the dispatcher at one point.

Law enforcement sources told WUSA the incident appeared to be a simple case of self-defense and at this point, the homeowner is not expected to face any charges.

“There have been no facts developed during the course of the investigation at this point indicating there is a basis upon which charges should be filed,” Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said.

Under Maryland’s “Castle Doctrine,” a homeowner does not have a duty to retreat if someone has broken into their home.

DC court records showed the Powell had a criminal history that included misdemeanors and domestic violence, WUSA reported.

Officials said it was unclear what Powell was doing at the home or how long he had been staying there.

The homeowner’s father told WTTG that police had found a pillow and blanket in the basement that indicated he may have been sleeping in the home for some time.

He also said that his son had been out of town for a wedding and returned on Saturday.

Powell’s family said that he had been seeking help for ongoing mental health issues, WTTG reported.

The family said they had questions about how Powell ended up at the isolated location in Montgomery County.

The home where Powell died has a gun range inside it and a sign outside referring to a conspiracy theory about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, according to WUSA.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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