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Man, 72, shot through door during attempted home invasion in Tampa

TAMPA — It was nearing midnight Monday when 72-year-old Robert Lorins heard someone outside his house. He went upstairs and asked his grown son if he was expecting company.

At this hour? No, Brett Lorins replied.

Moments later, the elder Lorins was bleeding on the kitchen floor, shot through the front door of his own home by someone who ran away unseen.

Lorins was in critical condition Tuesday after surgery at Tampa General Hospital. His son spent the morning searching for answers.

"My dad didn't do anything to anyone," the 35-year-old said. "I don't know where to start."

Police had no suspects and no motive for the attempted home invasion and said they were investigating to determine if it was a random crime.

Brett Lorins said he was watching TV upstairs at about 11:30 p.m. when his father heard someone outside the house at 2224 N Gordon St. After his father returned downstairs, the son followed and found his dad struggling to push the front door shut.

He ran up behind him and the two managed to close it.

Just then, a pop.

The bullet pierced the door's glass front, edged its way around a metal screen inside and hit the elder Lorins, who stumbled to the kitchen and sat on the floor while his son called 911.

Whoever pulled the trigger disappeared down the street. "As his son, I kick myself that I didn't see anything," Brett Lorins said. "I pray that someone did."

Police said there were no witnesses. Neighbors said they heard police sirens and commotion, but not the shooter.

Carlos Jimenez, 28, who lives next door, said he was never afraid before for his wife or three young children to be at home without him. "Now I'm scared," Jimenez said.

"He's a very nice old man," Jimenez said of Robert Lorins. "He doesn't have problems with nobody."

Brett Lorins said the doctors told him his father lost a lot of blood and has internal injuries. The bullet didn't exit his body.

Before he moved to Florida, the elder Lorins owned Rockland Candy, a wholesaler that sold mostly to convenience stores, the younger Lorins said. The business was started by the elder Lorins' own father.

Before that, Robert Lorins served in the U.S. Army and was stationed in Japan.

The younger Lorins, who works at the Ritz Ybor, said his father moved in with him about a year ago from New Jersey when he retired. Since then he's been working part-time at the Centro Ybor Sunglass Hut store. "He's not making enemies at Sunglass Hut," the son said.

Detectives were working Tuesday to determine whether the attempted home invasion was random, said police spokeswoman Laura McElroy. "In most home invasions, there is an ongoing dispute between the suspect and the victim."

Truly random home invasions are "highly unusual," McElroy said.

When asked if there was anything to suggest the home was targeted, she would say only that the investigation was ongoing.

The elder Lorins has no criminal record in Florida. Brett Lorins has one charge in 2001 for possession of marijuana, though he said he's sure that wouldn't be a reason to target his home.

"This just shouldn't have happened," he said. "This is just crazy."

Man, 72, shot through door during attempted home invasion in Tampa 02/23/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 23, 2010 11:10pm]
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