Police investigating Ohio homeowner's fatal shooting of intruder

Police investigating Ohio homeowner's fatal shooting of intruder
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There’s a reason for the saying “when second count police are only minutes away”: it’s generally the case. Police can’t be everywhere, and these days the staffing shortages many departments are experiencing are having a major impact on response times. But even in the best of circumstances it’s rare for a law enforcement officer to be close enough to the scene of a random burglary, break-in, robbery, or home invasion that they can arrive quickly enough to intervene, which means it’s up to us to be able to protect and defend ourselves.


That was the case in Centerville, Ohio on Thursday, when 911 dispatchers got a call about a burglary in progress. By the time officers arrived, however, the suspected burglar was dead; shot and killed by the homeowner after the man apparently gained entry to the home.

Joseph Gibson, 36, of Dayton, was identified Thursday afternoon as the person who had died in the shooting, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.

Officers were dispatched to the 9700 block of Sheehan Road shortly before 5 a.m. after a woman at the home reported that someone was attempting to break in, according to Centerville Public Information Officer John Davis.

News Center 7 obtained the 911 call through a public records request.

“We have someone trying to break into our house right now,” the woman told dispatchers.

While officers were on their way to the home, a “bang” that was believed to be a gunshot could be heard over the phone, Davis said.

Once police arrived they found Gibson’s body in the home near the front door, as well as the homeowner who told officers that he fired the fatal shot. Oddly, police also found a 40-year-old woman “lying face down in the front lawn unresponsive but breathing”, though authorities told local media that she was taken to a local hospital for “matters unrelated to the shooting.”


So far there’s no word on what she was doing there or if she knew either Gibson or the homeowner, but at least one neighbor had spotted a car he didn’t recognize parked outside the armed citizen’s home just before the burglary took place.

The neighbor said he went downstairs to get a drink during the early morning hours, and that’s when he noticed a car parked out front of the house with its lights on.

“Looked suspicious,” the man said. “I went back to bed, got thirsty again, came back downstairs again maybe an hour later, same car was still out front with its lights on.”

When he got up later in the morning, he said he saw police everywhere. “I had no idea what happened until the police told me,” he said.

Unconnected to the shooting doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have any connection to the intruder who was shot, and I’m very curious to learn more about whether the two were together in that car before the break-in took place. Given that Montgomery County has already seen nearly 130 overdose deaths this year, I can’t help but wonder if there weren’t drugs involved in both her medical issues and Gibson’s attempt to break-in to the home.

Time and the toxicology reports will tell us more, and we’ll be keeping an eye out for any updates on the incident. For now the investigation continues, but police haven’t announced any charges against the homeowner, and if the video footage from the couple’s doorbell camera and physical evidence matches up with his story I would be surprised if this isn’t determined to be a justified use of force. You have every right to defend yourself from a stranger breaking into your home, and as of now that appears to be what happened here.



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