Wednesday, July 19, 2000
By Glenn Puit, Las Vegas Review-Journal

A 60-year-old man guns down a burglary suspect, and authorities say he appears to be justified.

A gunbattle in a Las Vegas home early Tuesday left an intruder dead and the 60-year-old homeowner shaken but unharmed, police said.

The Tuesday morning shootout unfolded as the two men stood just a few feet from one another in the den of the homeowner\'s residence in the 3200 block of South Tenaya Way at Desert Inn Road.

\"It was quite an exchange of gunfire,\" said Las Vegas police Lt. Wayne Petersen. \"Amazingly, they weren\'t very far apart at all. They were standing maybe six to eight feet apart.\"

In the past three years, at least eight robbery or burglary suspects have been shot or stabbed after they broke into valley businesses and homes. All but one of those shootings by home or business owners have been ruled justified by authorities.

\"I was born and raised in Las Vegas, and it does seem like (now) you do see a lot of situations like this,\" said Ronald C. Bloxham, Clark County chief deputy district attorney. \"I think the public is starting to protect themselves more and more.\"

Tuesday\'s events started at 5:15 a.m. when the 60-year-old, sleeping alongside his 61-year-old wife, was awakened by the sound of their dogs barking. Petersen said the man retrieved a handgun, then went downstairs to investigate.

The man opened the door to his den and was confronted by an armed intruder standing just feet away. The two immediately started shooting at one another, prompting the homeowner\'s wife to call 911.

\"The suspect fired three shots, the victim eight,\" Petersen said.

The intruder, tentatively identified as a 20-year-old Las Vegan whose name has not been released, died at the scene. A second intruder fled the house, driving off in a silver Jeep as Las Vegas patrol officers arrived.

\"The vehicle didn\'t have any plates, and that was what really caught the officers'attention,\" Petersen said.

Patrol officers tried to stop the Jeep, but the driver sped off, prompting a high-speed police chase. Officers pursued the man to a Taco Bell parking lot at Charleston and Decatur boulevards, where officers used their patrol cars to trap the Jeep in the parking lot.

Petersen said Laron D. White, 19, of Las Vegas was arrested in the parking lot. Petersen said White had a cut on his arm, which authorities believe resulted when White and the dead man broke a rear window while entering the Tenaya Way home.

The dead suspect was found by police inside the residence, a firearm still in his hand. Petersen said it appears the man had been arrested numerous times on burglary and battery charges in the past 18 months. Police were unable to locate any prior record for White.

In the past three years, there have been shootings in the Las Vegas Valley in which home and business owners fatally shot intruders. Below is a summary of some of the cases: