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Tampa Heights intruder killed in shooting just released from prison

Lanny Marler II, 38, was shot to death after police say he broke into a Tampa Heights home Tuesday. [Courtesy of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
Lanny Marler II, 38, was shot to death after police say he broke into a Tampa Heights home Tuesday. [Courtesy of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
Published Mar. 17, 2016

TAMPA — Lanny Ray Marler II was a free man for less than a month after serving three years in prison before police say he broke into a Tampa Heights home earlier this week.

That decision would end the 38-year-old's life. When Christopher Solomon, 40, heard what sounded like someone breaking into the back of the home he shared with his mother, he grabbed his gun, Tampa police said.

When Solomon found Marler in his kitchen he fired several times. He was "in fear of his life," police said. Marler died at the scene on Tuesday afternoon. Thursday, police identified Marler as the man who died. The State Attorney's Office will decide whether Solomon acted in self-defense

From North Carolina his mother, Kay Marler, said she was in shock. She'd hoped her son would turn around his life. He moved to Florida from North Carolina about four years ago.

"Unfortunately when people are released from prison, particularly with property-type crimes, we see it's common that they re-offend," said police spokeswoman Andrea Davis.

Kay Marler, 60, said her son came to Florida looking for work, but "one thing led to another" and he started using theft to get by. That pattern seems to have repeated itself.

"I'm sure he was struggling out there because he had just got out," Kay Marler said.

State records show Marler served three years in prison for burglary and grand theft. He got out on Feb. 23. Exactly three weeks later, police said he broke into Solomon's home at 2110 N Central Ave.

Police said they did not know where Marler was living during the 21 days he was out of prison, but he had previously been listed as living in Clearwater and Tampa in county jail records.

Neighbors on Tuesday were in shock. Eleanor Solomon, the shooter's mother, declined comment. She cried as investigators removed Marler's body from her home.

"He had a good heart," Kay Marler said of her son. "He just took the wrong path."

Contact Sara DiNatale at sdinatale@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3400. Follow @sara_dinatale.

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