VERO BEACH — Last week Thomas Thompson II, 24, was charged with taking copper from a Home Depot store.
Early Thursday, the Vero Beach resident was fatally shot breaking into the home of a woman his pregnant girlfriend knew, said Indian River County sheriff's Detective Chris Cassinari.
Around 5:20 a.m. Thompson, armed with two knives, crawled through a window in a small home south of Vero Beach at the intersection of 47th Avenue and First Street Southwest.
A family dog awakened occupant Francis Hornsby, who found an armed man at the foot of her bed when she turned on a light.
Her screams woke her two sons, 19-year-old Austin Hornsby and 20-year-old Robert Hornsby. From what Cassinari surmises, Thompson apparently didn't know the sons were inside the home.
One son scuffled with Thompson. Finally, the other son, "in defense, fired a shotgun, killing the subject," said sheriff's Lt. Leroy Smith. Investigators haven't yet identified which son fired the shotgun.
Thompson was pronounced dead at the scene. His body was at the doorway to a porch. He is survived by a 3-year-old child, officers said.
The investigation is continuing. No charges have been filed in what sheriff's investigators consider a burglary.
"We are not sure what he (Thompson) was after," Cassinari said. So far, investigators said nothing unusual or of great value has been found in the home.
"We do not believe it was a personal vendetta," Cassinari said. "He was after something in the home. He did come there armed."
Neighbor Brandon Hughes said Austin Hornsby talked of someone breaking into the home two days ago. No report was filed.
"There has always been problems at that end of the street," said retiree Don Dupuis, who has lived a block away for 23 years.
Thompson, of the 2400 block of First Place, apparently walked a mile to the home where he was shot, Cassinari said.
Thompson was released Sunday from the Indian River County Jail under a $5,000 bail following his arrest Sept. 12 on a charge of grand theft. Authorities say he took $2,200 in copper wire from a Roseland Home Depot store.
Arrested with Thompson was Anna Stasia Martin, 22, who also was charged with grand theft. She lived with him in the 2400 block of First Place, reports show.
Anyone with more information about the fatal break-in should call the Indian River County Sheriff's Office at (772) 978-6124 or the Crime Stoppers at (800) 273-TIPS (8477).