WESLEY CHAPEL — Two armed intruders were shot dead and a third was wounded when a homeowner fired on them early Friday, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.
The homeowner said he was inside his home playing video games when at about 12:43 a.m. he heard the glass of his laundry room door shatter, according to a sheriff’s report. He saw an arm reach inside to unlock the door. Then the homeowner said he saw a masked man walk in and aim a gun at him.
The homeowner said he grabbed his Glock 9mm pistol, which was just a few feet away, and fired several times at the intruder. He saw the intruder fall down, the report said.
Then a second masked intruder entered the house, and the homeowner said he fired at him, too. That intruder also collapsed.
The masked men were aiming their weapons at the homeowner when they were shot, said Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco.
The homeowner said he then saw a third intruder enter, the report said. The homeowner started firing again, but said his Glock jammed. Then he said he grabbed a Kriss Vector 10mm semi-automatic rifle, but didn’t fire it. The third intruder had run away.
The homeowner said he called his neighbor for help and told him he had just shot two intruders. While the homeowner was on the phone with 911, he said, he heard his neighbor yelling outside: The neighbor had detained the third intruder, who was wounded, at gunpoint in the front yard. The homeowner went outside to help.
“The victim advised he shot all three intruders because they were armed and forced entry into his home and he believed they were going to kill him,” said an arrest report.
When deputies arrived, the two intruders were pronounced dead at the scene. The third was taken to the hospital for medical treatment.
He was identified as Jeremiah Tramel, 19, and was still in a hospital on Friday, according to the Pasco Sheriff’s Office. The two intruders who were killed were Luis Casado and Khyle Durham, both 21.
Tramel was questioned at Tampa General Hospital but denied involvement, deputies said. Then he told them that Casado wanted to rob the homeowner, according to his arrest report, so he rode with the two men. They wore masks and gloves and armed themselves.
When he heard gunfire, Tramel said he went into the home and ended up getting shot, the report said.
Nocco said investigators asked the homeowner why he may have been targeted. He told them he posted a lot of photos of his guns on social media and that may have been the reason why. Nocco said he appears to know the intruders, but did not elaborate.
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“This is not a total random situation,” he said.
The sheriff said the intruders who died have histories of violent crime.
“This is not out of the norm of their activities to use violence,” he said.
Casado has faced charges such as attempting to flee and elude an officer, driving under the influence, possession of a controlled substance, misdemeanor possession of marijuana and resisting an officer without violence, according to Pasco County jail records. Durham has faced charges of auto burglary, misdemeanor battery, resisting an officer without violence, trespassing and numerous charges of violating his probation, records show.
The sheriff said the surviving intruder, Tramel, faces charges of armed home invasion and two counts of felony murder. Under the state’s felony murder statute, homicide charges can be filed if someone dies in the commission of a crime. In this case, that would be the deaths of his accused accomplices during the home invasion. The Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney’s Office also will investigate.
Sheriff’s officials did not identify the homeowner because of their interpretation of Marsy’s law, a constitutional amendment that is designed to protect crime victims but also deprives the public of information that has historically been provided in Florida. The agency did not release the address of the shooting, saying only that it took place in the vicinity of the intersection of State Road 54 and State Road 56, near the Tampa Premium Outlets outdoor mall.