HAMILTON -- Jamie Buck was asleep early Friday when a sledgehammer shattered his side door’s window and a stranger burst into his rented home, demanding money or jewelry.
That was the last demand Millard Brandenburg would ever make.
Brandenburg, 31, was shot to death inside Buck’s Bishop Avenue home early Friday, seven weeks after Brandenburg’s latest release from jail. A preliminary investigation suggests the shooting was justified, authorities say.
Buck, who told police he was hit in the head with the sledgehammer, was treated at Fort Hamilton Hospital. He told police in a 911 call that he shot the intruder.
Brandenburg suffered a fatal gunshot to the head, three shots in the chest and a fifth shot in the left side, Butler County Coroner Richard Burkhardt said.
Brandenburg tested positive for alcohol use; tests showing his blood-alcohol level and any other drugs were being processed, the coroner said.
The deadly encounter between Buck and Brandenburg follows a similar incident in Covington earlier this week, in which a man fatally shot an acquaintance. In the Hamilton case, Buck told police the intruder was a stranger.
So far, it appears both men were acting in self-defense and are unlikely to face charges, authorities said.
But that’s not always the case. Damon Lloyd, 39, goes on trial Monday in Warren County. He is charged with voluntary manslaughter for shooting David Brian Richardson, 46, in the side yard of his Turtlecreek Township home last fall.
Alan Gottlieb, president of KeepAndBearArms.com, said many home invasions end quietly when a gun-toting resident scares away the intruder.
“The only cases that get any news are the ones where the police are called up and there’s blood on the floor,” he said.
In the Hamilton case, Buck, 33, appears to have been defending himself, said Butler County Prosecutor Robin Piper.
But Piper said he is waiting for police to finish investigating before he decides what to do. If the investigation upholds Buck’s account of self-defense, Piper could file no charges – or he could let a grand jury decide.
Buck, who works as a roofer, called 911 and calmly told police: “This guy broke into my house…He tried to kill me with a sledgehammer, sir…He is lying dead in my kitchen.”
Lee North, a 34-year-old friend of Buck, came out of Buck’s home Friday morning and said, “That dude died right there on the kitchen floor. The whole kitchen’s blood.”
North said he saw a trail of blood from the kitchen to a bedroom.
Buck was wearing a white bandage around his head when he came home around 9:30 a.m. to get some belongings.
“Everything’s fine. I’m OK. Thank you,” he said, waving off news reporters as he climbed into a relative’s van.
A next-door neighbor, Chris Perkins, said he heard a loud bang followed by four gunshots.
Perkins’ wife, Lucinda, described Buck as “very fun, very friendly…I have no idea why they would pick on him.”
Brandenburg lived with his mother on 6th Street in Hamilton.
During the past decade, he had been cited into Hamilton Municipal Court on more than two dozen offenses including traffic citations, ethnic intimidation, assault, resisting arrest and forgery.
Brandenburg served two state prison terms; for a drug conviction and failing to pay child support. He was last released from prison in May, but was locked up in Resolutions, Butler County’s minimum security jail, from July 12 until Feb. 2 for failing to comply with police orders, officials said.
As of late Friday, officials weren’t saying if they knew what led Brandenburg to Buck’s doorstep.