ANAHEIM (CBSLA) — A suspected car burglar was shot and killed by a homeowner who caught him in the act, police said.

But questions have emerged over whether the resident could face charges.

The incident unfolded just after 2:30 a.m. Saturday in the 800 block of S. Westchester Drive. It was there that police say a homeowner was alerted by his security camera when 20-year-old Malik Mustafa Schwiat tripped the motion sensor.

Authorities say Schwiat was breaking into a car and the homeowner walked out and allegedly confronted him with a gun.

“During that confrontation, the vehicle burglar was shot one time,” said Sgt. Shane Carringer of the Anaheim Police Department.

Schwiat was taken to a hospital where he later died.

The homeowner has been cooperative with investigators. So far, he has not been arrested.

Detectives are working to verify the man’s story and figure out if this was a case of self-defense, and whether the shooting was justified.

“He’s in for a long road, this is going to be a long, very stressful process I’m sure for the homeowner and his family,” the sergeant said. “It’s something to be very cognizant of before you do anything like this, because there are oftentimes unintended consequences that can come from these situations.”

Detectives are working to track down a possible accomplice in the break-in. In the meantime, they say Schwiat had a rap sheet, which is why neighbors are glad the family involved wasn’t hurt.

“He was just trying to protect his family,” said Anthony Aravalo, a resident in the area. “You never know how you’re going to react at that time.”

Legal experts say deadly force cannot be used to protect one’s property. In other words, if someone is breaking into one’s car, the best thing to do is to stay inside and call police.

Comments (7)
  1. Johnny4Strings says:

    Did the burglar have any weapon? Like something that can smash a window, can smash a head. I don’t like the tone of this article. The bad guy lost. This is the cost of crime. Don’t like police comments either. Do your job, get the bad guys off the street. Repeal Prop 47 NOW!

    1. Ken says:

      If someone is breaking into my vehicle, even driving off with it, I am not going to shoot to kill them because the vehicle and it’s contents aren’t worth a human life in the scale of things. I can see where some people will get their ego involved and say, “Not MY car!” Wrong approach.

  2. John Oakman says:

    Another Good DimoRat.

  3. Kelly M Dean says:

    He making a citizen arrest and the suspect resisted…and the homeowner was then in fear for his life.
    They expect the suspect will just sit and cooperate and wait 10 minutes for the police?
    Or they expect a foot persuit by the homeowner to catch the jerk?

  4. Bill Sanderson says:

    This type of crime is at epidemic levels in Anaheim. APD basically says it’s only a misdemeanor to break into cars so lock your car doors and don’t put anything of value in the cars. We have bigger things to worry about. The idiot shouldn’t have been breaking into cars.

    1. Ken says:

      In Mexico and Central America, no one leaves their car on the public street at night, all vehicles are behind tall walls topped with electrified barbed wire, with sliding metal entrance doors.

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