CLEARWATER — Two people trying to rob a house late Tuesday night were shot by one of the home's occupants, who was in fear for his life, authorities said.
One of the robbers — 19-year-old Anson B. Felton of Clearwater — died. Another suspect was found wounded at a local hospital.
The shootings occurred at 2311 Lorena Lane in a tree-lined neighborhood of single-family homes north of Drew Street and east of Belcher Road.
During the struggle, the resident who fired at his attackers accidentally shot one of his roommates, authorities said. That person was treated at a local hospital for injuries that were not life-threatening, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, which is investigating because the incident happened just outside Clearwater city limits.
The Sheriff's Office did not release the names of the suspect or the resident who were shot. A third person involved in the robbery hasn't been found.
Detectives don't believe the robbery was a random incident and are investigating any connections between the intruders and the residents.
The shooting didn't surprise neighbors, who said there are frequent parties and constant traffic at the beige house.
"It's a rowdy house," said neighbor John Jones. "They're a real rowdy bunch, I'll give you that." He said there has been a problem with garbage piling up on the curb for the past month.
According to the Sheriff's Office, here's what happened:
Three men, two of them armed, entered the house just before midnight and tried to rob the occupants. Several people were inside the home at the time and one was armed. That man feared for his life and pulled out a gun. He accidentally shot one of his roommates before fatally shooting Felton. Then he shot at the other two robbers, hitting one of them. The two robbers fled. The injured one was later found at a local hospital, where he was still being treated late Wednesday afternoon.
According to Pinellas County court records, Felton was convicted of cocaine possession in December.
Neighbor Renata Evensen agreed that the house is rowdy. "We are so used to their parties," she said.
Evensen said the residents often host big gatherings with people parking their cars all the way up and down Lorena Lane. In fact, she said, that's why she first thought people were slamming car doors late Tuesday night when she heard a series of loud, banging noises.
Several neighbors said the residents had a party this past weekend. Neighbors often have to pick up beer bottles and empty plastic cups left behind in their yards after the parties, Evensen said.
Sheriff's deputies responded to calls for service at the home more than 20 times over the last 15 months, for issues ranging from excessive noise to battery. Records show the agency was at the home early Sunday morning for calls regarding "juvenile trouble" and vandalism.
Next-door neighbor Scott Letts, 44, said the grandson of the original owners lives at the house along with some male roommates. Letts said he suspected the parties played a role in Tuesday night's incident.
"The way I look at it, it's just like if someone eyeballs you and you have nice jewelry or something that someone wants, they're going to rob you," he said.
Times staff writers Danny Valentine and Ileana Morales and photographer Douglas E. Clifford contributed to this report. Rita Farlow can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4157.