The Ocala Star Banner reports that the incident took place at around 10:30 p.m. at a home in Summerfield, Marion County. The resident—35-year-old Shawn Peterson—said he and his girlfriend were about to go to bed when they heard somebody kick in the back door.
The couple’s pit bull, a four-year-old named Zeus, ran out to see what was going on, and that’s when Peterson said he heard multiple gunshots and movement inside the home. He then saw a shadow coming toward his bedroom, so he locked the door.
- RELATED STORY: Canine Deterrence – 10 of the Best Personal Protection Dogs
Peterson said he shouted “What’s this all about?” and the intruder fired his gun through the bedroom door. Fortunately, neither Peterson nor his girlfriend were hit by the round. But the intruder was still trying to gain entry to the room.
“My girlfriend was at the closet at the time and I yelled at her. I said, ‘Throw me my shotgun.’ She threw the shotgun at me like in the movies and I caught and I fired one time, and I guess it hit the guy in the chest or whatever,” Peterson told News 6.
The suspect took off immediately afterwards.
Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived at the home shortly thereafter, and Peterson said somebody armed with a handgun had broke into his home, shot his dog and tried to take out he and his girlfriend.
The home intruder, later identified as 32-year-old Shawn Michael King, was dropped off outside the Ocala Health Summerfield Emergency Room, where he died from his injuries.
- RELATED STORY: Choosing a Home Defense Gun – Pistols, Rifles and Shotguns
King has a rap sheet that includes a conviction for burglary, grand theft and grand theft of a motor vehicle. He was released from prison in 2011.
Peterson—who was uninjured—says Zeus was shot three times, with one of the bullets hitting the dog in the head. Remarkably, he’s now recovering.
“He’s a good dog. He never leaves my side,” Peterson said.
Peterson believes more than one person entered the home. Police are continuing to investigate and haven’t made any arrests thus far.