South Dallas homeowner shoots at utility worker mistaken for burglar 2:28 PM CT
02:42 PM CDT on Tuesday, August 18, 2009
By BUNMI ISHOLA / The Dallas Morning News
An Oncor worker was slightly injured this morning, when a resident mistook him for a burglar and fired a shotgun at him, Dallas police said.
The shooting occurred at 8:50 a.m. in the 2700 block of Park Row in South Dallas.
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Elmer Howard, 36, told police he was in the neighborhood replacing utility meters. He knocked on the door of one resident several times, he said, and when there was no response, he went around to the the back to begin working on the meter.
The resident, a 69-year-old man, said he'd been sleeping and was awakened by pounding on his walls.
When he saw a shadow of someone on a ladder outside, he said, he thought his home was being burglarized. He grabbed a shotgun and fired twice through the back door, according to a police report.
Howard was not hit by the shots, but he was struck by debris blown off the door. His injuries were minor, and he was treated by a Dallas-Fire Rescue crew. He did not have to go to the hospital.
Police said they would refer the shooting to a grand jury. Department spokesman Kevin Janse said that's the common practice. He did not identify the homeowner who, he said, has no criminal record.
Oncor spokesperson Carol Peters said the utility had left notices informing the neighborhood that workers would be in the area changing meters.
That work will continue over the next three years as Oncor upgrades its system, and “it won’t be unusual to see employees in the neighborhood,” Peters said.