SAN PEDRO (CBSLA) — A suspect was shot and killed by a San Pedro homeowner after apparently trying to break into his residence.

Los Angeles police officers were sent out to the 2800 block of South Carolina Street in San Pedro at about 7:15 a.m. on the report of an intruder  trying to break in through the front door of a home.

The apparent intruder was shot three times. When officers arrived, they found a man in his 20s dead inside the home and signs of forced entry.

Police say the initial investigation suggests the homeowner — a retired LA City Firefighter — and apparent intruder got into a physical struggle before the homeowner used his own gun to shoot him. It’s not clear if the intruder was armed. Detectives say it’s too early in the investigation to determine if the shooting was self-defense.

The homeowner, a woman and a dog at the home at the time of the shooting were not injured.

Investigators on Thursday evening told CBS2/KCAL9’s Rachel Kim that the alleged would-be burglar tried to get into a house one street over on Kerckhoff Avenue.

Authorities told her the man started banging on the door or the Kerckhoff home demanding to be let in and yelling that he lived there. He reportedly said, “Let me in, I live here. I’m trying to get in.”

While he didn’t gain access to the home, he did get the homeowner’s car keys. He drove their red car over to the house on Carolina Street where police believe he gained access through an open window.

Officials said the homeowner told the suspect he would call the police if he didn’t leave. The suspect reportedly replied, “F–k the police.”

Neighbors of the retired firefighter defended his actions.

“We’re friends and he’s very nervous,” says neighbor Ericka Winters, “We are very sorry for him. It’s a really bad thing to happen in the neighborhood.”

The suspect had not been publicly named. Officials told Kim no weapon was found on the suspect.

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