Earnest Neal Jr., 42, of Roanoke, VA, attempted to break into the wrong home.

Police have identified the person who was shot in northwest Roanoke late Thursday and later died after an attempted home robbery led to gunfire.

Officers were called to the 3000 block of Ferncliff Avenue just before midnight after reports multiple shots had been fired in the area. The police roped off two houses as well as the nearby Shell Station on Hershberger Road.

In a statement released today, department spokesman Scott Leamon said the subsequent investigation indicated a person inside one of the houses had used a gun in self-defense to shoot Earnest Neal Jr., 42, of Roanoke. Police said Neal was at least one person trying to get into the house at the time. Neal was later found at the gas station.

Police have not released the identity of the shooter. They did not say how many people were attempting entry into the house.

On the opposite end of the state, another home invader met a similar end.

A would-be robber was fatally shot Wednesday and an accomplice was hospitalized after a homeowner returned gunfire during a home invasion on Marsh Market Road in northwestern Accomack County.

It was the second time this year in the area in which the victim in a home-invasion robbery fired a shot at an armed man.

A growing percentage of the population is pursuing both arms and training. You would think that criminals would eventually learn that home invasion is a high-risk, low-reward occupational specialty after a while.

If they don’t, it looks like Darwin will sort things out for them sooner, rather than later.