Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Neighbors 'outraged' after man, 80, charged with shooting burglar


Neighbors say they're "outraged" that an 80-year-old owner of a local tavern has been charged with shooting a burglar who broke into his home in the Englewood neighborhood on the South Side.

“What does it say to me and other senior citizens that we will be arrested if we defend ourselves?" asked Anita Dominique, head of the block club in the neighborhood. "This is an outrage.”

Police say Homer Wright was inside his home in the 6400 block of South Morgan Street about 6:30 a.m. Monday when someone broke through several boards and entered through a rear bathroom window and tried to steal some liquor. Wright grabbed a handgun and shot the burglar in the lower right leg, police said.
Anthony Robinson, 19, of the 6000 block of South Wood Street, was charged with felony burglary after he was treated at St. Bernard Hospital and Health Care Center and released.

Wright was charged with one felony count of unlawful use of a weapon after police discovered he had two prior weapons convictions from 1968 and 1994, officials said. Records show Wright also was convicted of theft in 1990. Wright turned his gun over to detectives.

Dominique said Wright runs a tavern next door to his home called "Tank's," after his nickname. “I have known Tank for over 30 years and he is a pillar of our community,” she said.

Darryl Smith, 42 said he's a lifelong resident of Englewood and lives a block from Wright. “He’s been on that corner my whole life,” Smith said. “He has a responsible business and he’s a responsible man.”

Smith said everyone he’s spoken to about Wright’s arrest is “outraged.”

In Englewood, an area beset by crime, police shouldn’t be arresting someone for defending himself, Smith said.

“Here’s an 80-year-old man who’s defending himself against a teenager that’s breaking the door in … What if he didn’t have a gun? We’d be having a press conference about something very different,” Smith said.

Police and prosecutors should have found a way to avoid charging Wright, Smith said. "Just take the gun."

rsobol@tribune.com

Twitter:@RosemarySobol1