Port St. Lucie man injured in home-invasion shooting
By ANA X. CERON
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
PORT ST. LUCIE — Brenda Lewis sat across the street from her house and tried not to cry.
Her husband, Paul, was being interviewed Tuesday afternoon by detectives after he shot a man who police believe was trying to break into the light brown house on Floresta Drive.
"He shot the guy," Brenda said as neighbors comforted her.
At about 2 p.m., Paul Lewis, 46, was laying on his bed when the doorbell rang at the one-story house in the 200 block of N.E. Floresta, police said. Also at the house were his two daughters and a niece - ranging in age from 6 and 8 - and a family friend, who went to check the door. When she asked Paul whether he was expecting anyone, he said no, police reported.
So Paul retrieved a handgun from his nightstand, according to police, and went to the door. When he got there, he said he saw a man head to the side privacy fence and jump into his backyard.
Paul next heard his sliding glass door rattle, and when he looked out his kitchen window, he saw the intruder trying to get in, police said.
"At this point we don't believe the suspect knew anybody was home," Officer Robert Vega, police spokesman, said Tuesday.
When the stranger tried prying open the window, Paul shot him, police said. Then he called 911.
In the meantime, the suspect fled in a white sedan, which crashed about a half-mile away into a telephone pole along Airoso Boulevard. The man, in his mid- to late-20s, was flown to St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach, authorities said. His identity and condition were not known late Tuesday.
"My husband is a computer, nerdy guy," said Brenda Lewis, who was not home at the time of the shooting. "He's never shot a gun in his life, but you gotta protect your family. Times are rough right now."
Police on Tuesday were still investigating the shooting, declining to say whether Paul was justified in firing at the suspect under Florida's Castle Doctrine law. It allows the use of deadly force if there is a "reasonable fear of imminent peril."
"Whether or not this is one of those cases, we don't know," Vega said.
Brenda said her family was shaken up over the incident, but otherwise was fine. As neighbors stood by the yellow police tape to watch the scene, she thought of the suspect too.
"I still feel for whoever got hurt," she said.
Staff researchers Sammy Alzofon and Niels Heimeriks contributed to this story.