Elderly Cleveland concealed carry licensee survives home invasion by shooting his armed attacker

by Chad D. Baus

The Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that a 78 year-old man was forced to shoot a 17 year-old male who to broke into the house he was sleeping in.

From the article:

"Police told me if I hadn't dropped him with that that first one, he would have got me," [Ted] Ziolkowski said in a telephone interview.

The youth remained in Metrohealth Medical Center under police guard. His mother said late Friday afternoon that "he's fighting for his life."

She said her son had been in trouble with the law before. She also said he'd been shot before, when he was 14 and he caught a stray bullet in the leg during a gang shootout in which he was not involved.

This time he was armed, according to police. They did not identify the weapon, but Ziolkowski said investigators told him it was an ancient chrome-plated .32 cal. Smith & Wesson semi-automatic.

The article goes on to say that Ziolkowski, who now lives on a farm in Ashtabula County, was sleeping on a couch in the kitchen when the attack began. He had been making repairs to the house where his late mother used to live. The house currently contains two rental units.

He heard the youth trying to break in, and saw the beam of a flashlight through a crack in the kitchen door.

The youth "had a screwdriver and popped out the lock. When he pushed open the door I fired one shot," Ziolkowski. The intruder slumped against the door, and the old man couldn't open it so he called 911.

The 11 p.m. break-in was the second one of the day, he said. That morning someone had broken into the upstairs apartment "and the carpet had been cut out."

Between the two burglaries, intruders "busted out three of my doors, the back door, one to the downstairs apartment and one to the upstairs. They're the old type and you can't buy them anymore. So I'll get steel ones and steel jambs. They want a fortune for those."

Ziolkowski used a .32 cal. Beretta pistol. "I never shot anybody before, not outside of a deer," he said. "It was dark there and he looked awful big to me."

The shooting will be reviewed by the city prosecutor, police said. Ziolkowski said he would drop off his weapon at the 4th District Police Station for ballistics tests as police requested. They promised to return it to him.

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.

A complete list of known incidents involving Ohio CHL-holders defending themselves is available here.

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