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Shortly before 3:30 a.m. Sunday morning, Erwin D. Cardenas attempted to break into a residence in Colerain Township, OH by kicking in the front door.

Little did Cardenas know who was on the other side of that door.

The home 32-year-old Cardenas broke into belongs to a 82-year-old Korean War Army veteran who, according to his son, earned a shooting medal during his time in the service and has stayed in good shape.

Such good shape, in fact, that when he heard Cardenas breaking in, he jumped up and grabbed his Smith & Wesson .38 handgun. The homeowner then commanded several warnings to the home intruder before he took aim at the man’s left shoulder.

“There’s a small window (in the door) and I told him to get out and he kept trying to get in, so I just let him have it in the shoulder,”  the homeowner said. “I mean, I didn’t try to hit his vital parts or anything like that.”

The homeowner informed the 9-1-1 dispatcher that his shot had sent a home intruder to the ground, but he got up and staggered away.

Police found Cardenas, 32, of Miamisburg, Ohio in a front yard a few houses away. During the investigation, he told police he had been staying at his uncle’s house nearby, and after they had a few (too many) Twisted Teas, he stepped outside to have a cigarette. That’s when he got confused and tried to enter the wrong home.

But according to Colerain PIO James Love, although Cardenas did not resist and had no weapons, his story still isn’t adding up.

“If you talk to the homeowner, the homeowner made it very clear who he was, showed himself to him, so we’re not real sure,” Love said. “The man was in his own property, in his own place, defending his own home.”

Police have charged Cardenas with burglary Tuesday morning and along with setting his bond at $5,000, the judge also ordered him to stay away from the home.

As for the homeowner, his son says

“He can handle himself really well for 82,” he said. “This man was spared his life by my father. Hopefully this guy will take this opportunity to turn his life around.

“But the big picture here is I want to encourage people to protect themselves. It’s our right. You have to exercise it. My father did and he lived to see another day,” he said.

Amen to that!

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