Elyria homeowner sleeps with gun after burglary, shoots intruder when he comes back for seconds

Burglar's family confronts homeowner, says he "should have taken different precautions" against the burglar, who has a record of violence

by Chad D. Baus

The Lorain Morning-Journal is reporting that an Elyria resident fatally shot a burglar who confronted him at home in the early Friday darkness, then hours later he was confronted by the dead man's upset relatives.

From the article:

Police said Jeffrey Carson, 29, of Elyria, broke into a house at 112 Water St. about 2:44 a.m. after getting a friend to boost him up to get in through an unlocked window.

The home’s residents, Jack and Linda Dillon, were awakened by Carson, who was in their living room, believed to be stealing electronics, police said. Jack Dillon called out and Carson lunged at him. Dillon had a handgun and shot Carson, police said.

In a frantic call to 911, Linda Dillon said, "Oh my God, we just had a break-in and we shot him." She continued, "My husband shot him. Oh Jesus. He's on my couch. I think this guy is dead."

Then she thanked God her granddaughter wasn't there.

Linda Dillon also made reference to a burglary Thursday morning in which their $1,700 52-inch Sharp flat-screen television was stolen, according to a police report of the incident. "We knew he was coming back. He unlocked my window," she said. Police have not yet linked Carson to that earlier burglary.

LifeCare ambulance Vice President Herb de la Porte said the Carson was critical at the scene and paramedics took him to EMH Elyria Medical Center, where he died.

The article goes on to report that the deceased burglar's two siblings, Bobbie Kniceley and her brother Johnny Minor Jr., went to the Water Street home a few hours after the shooting and confronted the homeowners, who were just returning home.

"The people just blew his brains out," Kniceley said. "They could have done something else."
The couple got out of their car, approached Kniceley and Minor and retorted, "You don't just go breaking into people's houses."

"Like you really had to shoot someone with a shotgun," Kniceley replied.

As the yelling continued, Jessica Dillon, who lives next door, called the police at 9:37 a.m. to report that the burglary suspect's family members were outside 112 Water St. causing trouble, according to an Elyria police log.

The couple yelled at Carson's family to get off their property. Carson’s family members slowly backed away yelling that the Dillons didn't have to kill their brother.

Minutes later police showed up and de-escalated the situation and sent everyone on their way.

The couple declined to comment.

Kniceley admitted Carson had a criminal record for assault, theft and domestic violence. However, she said, "They should have taken different precautions."

Kniceley was notified of the shooting about 4:30 a.m. Another brother, Matt Green, said the family wasn't getting consistent information from authorities.

"We wanted closure; now the family is stuck. We are all confused and upset," he said.

Green last saw Carson Thursday around 6:30 p.m. Carson didn't say anything about planning to break into a house, Green said.

"I'm not saying he was perfect, but he didn't deserve it," Green said.

Carson worked at Green Circle Growers in Oberlin, was laid off and had since gotten another job. Green said he knows his brother had a criminal past, liked to fight and had been behind bars on and off since he was 17 years old. Despite Carson’s past, Green said the situation could have been resolved differently.

According to the article, police are not releasing details about the gun used to shoot Carson or how many times he was shot or where. When asked if the shooting was justified or would be considered self defense, Elyria police Lt. Andy Eichenlaub said, "I'm not going to speculate. The investigation is ongoing."

Under Ohio's Castle Doctrine law, if someone unlawfully enters or attempts to enter an occupied home or temporary habitation, or occupied car, citizens have an initial presumption that they may act in self defense, and will not be second-guessed by the State.

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