TIERRA VERDE — An intruder who barged into a home early Saturday and was fatally shot by one of the occupants was an ex-convict with a long rap sheet, authorities said.
But 42-year-old Albert F. Hill's girlfriend said that life was behind him.
"It's a shame everything went down the way it did," Arielle Hope said. "Al's future was bright and everything was looking up for him and me and our life together."
She said Hill, who is a father, was a talented freelance tattoo artist.
"Things were going good for me and him," she said Sunday outside their Madeira Beach home. "He was staying away from all of that crime stuff and that's another reason why it's just random. That was behind him."
Hope said Hill was several months clean. A girlfriend of three months, she said she made sure of that.
However, she said Hill was probably drinking that night.
She said she didn't know what had happened, but that he didn't know the people at the house where he was shot.
The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said Hill knocked at the front door of 863 Third Ave. S about 3 a.m. Saturday.
Authorities have not identified the home's occupants, but family members said it was Robert Planthaber and his wife.
Planthaber, who had two black eyes, declined outside of his home Sunday to comment.
Planthaber's brother, Patrick, 40, of Tampa, said his brother didn't know the intruder.
Deputies said a woman answered the door, and the intruder forced his way inside. He attacked the victim and tried to carry her upstairs.
The home's male occupant heard her screams and came downstairs, the Sheriff's Office said.
Hill demanded money from the man. Then, as the man began to struggle with the intruder, the woman was able to get away and retrieve a gun from the bedroom.
She shot Hill, who tried to get away but collapsed at the front door, authorities said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
State records show Hill had been in and out of prison since 1986 for burglary, grand theft, selling cocaine and other crimes.
Deputies didn't release any new information Sunday as the investigation continued. Investigators say they think there may have been others involved in the home invasion.
Since 2005, Florida's "stand your ground" law has given people the right to use deadly force anywhere as long as they "reasonably believe" the force is necessary to stop the other person from hurting them.