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St. Petersburg homeowner shoots would-be burglar

ST. PETERSBURG — When Michael Allsop heard his bedroom window shatter, police said, he ran into his bathroom and called 911.

But when he saw two hands reach into his house, he put down the phone and picked up his 9mm pistol.

The 59-year-old homeowner opened fire Wednesday morning, wounding a would-be burglar.

The burglar ran away. Minutes later, a man showed up at Bayfront Medical Center with two gunshot wounds. St. Petersburg police said that's where they arrested Michael Patterson, 30, on a charge of burglary of an occupied structure.

"I'm glad he's alive," Allsop said. "Maybe he'll tell his friends not to come back.

"I don't want to kill anybody."

Allsop has had plenty of experience with burglars. Wednesday's break-in was the sixth burglary reported at his home at 1926 Seminole Blvd. S in the five years he's lived there, police records show.

Allsop said he heard a knock at the door about 9:40 a.m. but didn't answer it because he wasn't expecting anyone.

Then he heard the bedroom window shatter.

He fired three or four times when he saw the burglar trying to enter, police said.

It was the same window that was damaged when, police said, three men tried to get into his house on the evening of Aug. 23.

Allsop said he and his son were in the bedroom when that break-in occurred.

Allsop grabbed his weapon and fired several shots at the burglars from inside the home, police said.

He also ran outside and fired one last shot at the retreating burglars. No one was injured or arrested. Police told him that everything he did was legal until he ran outside and fired at the men as they ran away.

A police spokesman said Allsop appeared to have done nothing wrong in Wednesday's shooting.

Under Florida law, people can defend themselves with deadly force if they have a "reasonable fear of imminent peril" from someone "unlawfully and forcefully" entering their residence.

Allsop is a native of Trinidad who immigrated to the United States in 1989. He came to Florida from New York with his son, now 6, about five years ago. He has no criminal record in Florida.

Soon after arriving in Cromwell Heights, he felt he had to buy a handgun.

His home was burglarized twice in 2005, once in 2006 and twice more in 2009, records show. After being victimized again Wednesday, the widowed, single father said he just doesn't feel safe.

"At this point, I'm seriously thinking about moving," Allsop said.

Patterson of 2464 14th Ave. S was treated at the hospital for gunshot wounds to his hand and upper body, then was booked into the Pinellas County Jail.

In 2007, he pleaded no contest to charges of grand theft and larceny, court records say.

He was adjudicated guilty and sentenced to time served.

In January he was arrested on a petty theft charge, to which he has pleaded not guilty.

Times researcher Will Gorham contributed to this report.

St. Petersburg homeowner shoots would-be burglar 02/24/10 [Last modified: Thursday, February 25, 2010 12:03am]
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