An 81-year-old man said he was justified in shooting an alleged intruder – even though he is a convicted felon who was not suppose to have a gun.
“You see, when you’re breaking into peoples’ places and you’re not supposed to be there, you’re supposed to do what you have to do, and that’s what I did,” Homer Wright told NBC5 on Tuesday.
“I think it’s wrong and it’s unjust that I can’t protect me and my whatever, and that’s wrong.”
Anthony Robinson, 19, allegedly was trying to break into Wright’s home in the 6400 block of South Morgan Street to steal liquor about 6:30 a.m. Monday when Wright shot him in the leg, police said.
Wright was charged with unlawful use of a weapon, a felony, police said.
Robinson, of the 6600 block of South Wood, was charged with burglary. He appeared in bond court wearing a blue hospital gown that he held closed with one hand. Authorities said Wright had shot him in the ankle.
Court records showed Wright pleaded guilty to a 1990 theft charge and served two years on probation, and then served another 2-1/2 years on probation for a 1994 charge of unlawful use of a weapon.
On Tuesday, Judge Donald D. Panarese Jr. ordered him released on his own recognizance.
Wright’s grandson, 35-year-old Courtney Cook, was shooed out of the courtroom when he applauded Panarese’s decision not to require Wright to post bail.
He said after the hearing that the building that houses his grandfather’s tavern and home has been targeted several times in the last year or so.
And the Army vet did indeed call police after his 75-year-old wife heard someone trying to break in, only they didn’t respond quickly enough, Cook said.
“It’s the same thing over and over again. He’s tired of it,” Cook said. “A man’s … supposed to protect his home.
Outside Wright’s home, community activists and block club members defended Wright, who they said has run Sheree’s Past Time tavern in the front of his home and lived in the back with his wife and family for more than 40 years. They called on officials to drop the charges.
“It’s a sad day in America when an … senior citizen with a heart condition can’t defend himself against an intruder breaking into his house,” said Daryl Smith, 43, a self-employed tow truck owner.
Earlier, Smith said, “What happened if he didn’t have a gun? We would be talking about a whole different story.”
William Delay, 18th Ward committeeman, noted that in Florida, “Travon Martin was killed by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmermann and he has not been arrested. Mr. Wright was protecting his own home, was in fact inside his own home, and he did not kill this intruder. He only maimed this guy yet he has been arrested and is sitting in jail. Where is the justice in that?”
Smith said he does not think Wright’s criminal record should prohibit him from protecting himself.
“His life is just as valuable as someone who doesn’t have a felony,” Smith said.
Court records show Robinson has been arrested at least 13 times since 2009, mostly on theft, burglary and minor drug charges. Records also show he skipped multiple hearings.
Panarese on Tuesday ordered Robinson held on $150,000 bail.
And Cook had some advice for him:
“Go to school. Get a job. If you want to rob somebody, you got to face the consequences,” he said.