Police still investigating after burglar killed

By From page A1 | July 26, 2014

LONG BEACH — Prosecutors Friday were waiting for the results of a police investigation into the killing of a burglar by an 80-year-old California homeowner who says he shot the woman in the back as she fled his home and ran down an alley, the district attorney’s office said.

Long Beach resident Tom Greer, 80, told KNBC-TV that the burglar had said she was pregnant and asked Greer not to fire, but he shot her twice in the back anyway.

An autopsy later found that Andrea Miller, 28, was not pregnant, said coroner’s spokesman Ed Winter.

“Long Beach police are still investigating,” said Sarah Ardalani, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. “It’s ongoing, and so we’re waiting at this point.”

Prosecutors filed murder, burglary, robbery and weapons charges against Gus Adams, 26, a suspected accomplice of Miller. He was being held on bail of more than $1 million.

A court appearance initially set for Friday was rescheduled for next month.

The murder charge is possible because Adams is accused of participating in a felony that led to a death, said Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell.

Police said Friday that Adams’ mother, Ruby Adams, also was involved, and she was arrested Thursday night on suspicion of robbery. They gave no details on her alleged role or the evidence against her.

McDonnell said the homeowner came home around 9 p.m. Tuesday and surprised Adams and Miller, who were trying to break into a safe. They assaulted him, breaking his collarbone, before he was able to get a handgun, the chief said.

Police said he fired shots inside and outside his house.

Under California law, homeowners have a right to protect themselves with deadly force inside their homes and in the immediate vicinity – such as a patio – if they feel they are in imminent danger of great bodily injury or death, said Lawrence Rosenthal, a former federal prosecutor who teaches law at Chapman University.

But this case enters a gray area because Greer, by his own account, chased the burglars and fired at them outside his home as they were fleeing, Rosenthal said.

Prosecutors will have to decide if the evidence shows the immediate threat had subsided by the time Greer fired again, or if he still could reasonably fear for his life.

“As a technical matter, this would be a homicide, possibly second-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter, but that doesn’t mean that you should charge everything that’s technically an offense,” Rosenthal said.

“The problem here is that all this happens very fast and his legal right to use force probably ended just a few seconds before he did use deadly force. So the question is should you charge somebody on the basis of what really was a series of split-second decisions when he’s just been robbed and physically assaulted?”

Miller and Adams, who had histories of similar crimes, were unarmed, McDonnell said.

Greer had been burglarized three times before and believed the same suspects were responsible.

McDonnell would not say whether Miller was shot in the back as Greer said. He also declined to say how many shots were fired and whether either of the suspects was hit inside the house before fleeing.

No phone listing was available for Greer and he could not be reached for comment by The Associated Press.


The Associated Press

The Associated Press


Discussion | 5 comments

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  • og bobby johnson (hoover deuceJuly 26, 2014 - 12:34 am

    I feel bad for this old man. He told the police the truth in what he did and now he's going to possibly be punished for this. This county is so stupid, if he had never even spoken to the police , he probably wouldn't even be in trouble. Regardless, his home was robbed, he's in his 80's. But in this country, somehow,he gets to be the criminal. The public is so knee-jerk that shaft like this happens

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  • BobJuly 26, 2014 - 7:15 am

    80 years old, broken collar bone, still ran and fired and hit one of the people that probably killed him because at his age a broken collar bone can mean death. I say bravo, at his age he could run and shoot, I hope I can do the same. At 80 if I catch 3 people doing what they did, I'd chase and shoot also. Send an 80 year old probably first offender up the river? Not going to happen. Any other state and they would award him and give him keys to the State. Cut him loose like Brown cut all the others. He can live next door to me, I'll make sure all the body's are in his yard.

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  • CD BrooksJuly 26, 2014 - 7:48 am

    Dude was 80 and they beat him up, are you kidding? He did what he had to, let him go. This was a cost-efficient method ending with one good criminal. We should be angry he didn't get them both. There will be more stories like this going forward, guaranteed.

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  • LarryJuly 26, 2014 - 9:20 am

    Where he made the mistake, he didn't dragged her body back on his patio. Also, he could have gotten away with this only if she had a gun and used it on him.

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  • RAYMONDJuly 26, 2014 - 9:22 am

    Good for the home owner to bad she was only shot twice

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