An 85-year-old El Cerrito man is getting lots of community support after shooting one of two home invaders who attempted to kick in his back door Wednesday morning.

The incident happened on Cutting Blvd. just east of Arlington Blvd in the El Cerrito Hills neighborhood around 11:15 a.m., according to Lt. Steve Bonini.

Bonini said at least two men knocked on the door of a home in the neighborhood, but when no one answered, they went to the back yard. He said an 85-year-old man called police to report that he was home alone and spotted suspicious people in his backyard.

“They entered the gate, came through the back and were in the process of kicking down the back door,” Bonini said of the suspects.

Fearing for his safety, the 85-year-old armed himself with a gun and opened fire when he came face to face with the suspected burglars.

One suspect took off running and was located approximately 15 blocks away from the house near the Del Norte BART station where police discovered he had been shot in the head.

“It is kind of amazing to think that a person with a bullet in their head was able to travel that distance and run from police once they saw him,” Bonini said.

Police identified that suspect at 34-year-old Shawn Mulberry of Oakland who reportedly had an outstanding warrant for his arrest for violating his parole. He is being treated at an East Bay hospital and is listed in serious, but stable condition.

“When an 85-year-old can take on a thug like that, absolutely he’s a hero,” area resident Neil Swendsen said. “He did the whole community a service by putting these bad guys out of action and we’re very proud of him.”

You’ll note that the injured suspect is a repeat offender, and that he managed to travel 15 blocks before first being spotted by police, and still attempted to flee from them.

This is why just about every professional firearms instructor teaches students to consistently fire two shots to begin an engagement. The first shot you fire may be perfectly on-target and still have little to no immediate effect on the aggressor for a virtually unlimited range of reasons.