Police spokesman Simon Drobik said officers responded to a break-in in the 7100 block of Oralee NE, where 47-year-old Michael Dunn had been shot in rear by the homeowner’s boyfriend, Carlos Vasquez, after threatening him with a box cutter.
Dunn, a homeless man, was released from the hospital and booked into jail by Tuesday night. He is charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
“It appears the homeowner was defending himself and will not be charged at this time,” Drobik said.
According to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court, Judith Burkhalter, owner of the unoccupied home, had several recent break-ins and hired a company to clean up the mess made by burglars.
Police say when Burkhalter sent Vasquez to meet the cleaners, Dunn was inside the home.
Vasquez told police he armed himself with a pistol and entered the home, finding Dunn trying to escape out a back door.
Police say Vasquez confronted Dunn, who dropped a bag and put his hands in the air before trying to escape again and–finally–pulling out a box cutter on Vasquez.
Vasquez told police he hit Dunn over the head with the pistol after Dunn lunged at him with the box cutter.
Police say Vasquez then fired a round to “scare” Dunn but ended up shooting him.
“He did not have any intention of actually shooting (Dunn),” an officer wrote in the complaint. “(Dunn) happened to jump in front of him when the shot was fired.”
At the hospital, Dunn told police he was sleeping in a back bedroom of the house and did not break in.
Police say they found a car, registered to Dunn, outside the home with some of Burkhalter’s clothing in the back seat.
“Outside of the car tucked away in some bushes was a large flat screen TV and a backpack,” an officer wrote.
Albuquerque police couldn’t provide a tally of burglars shot by homeowners, but the Journal has reported on at least four such occasions in the past six months — three of them deadly.
In November, police say Warren Wild shot 21-year-old Rodolfo Serrano-Urais in both legs when Serrano-Urais tried to flee after burglarizing his property with another man.
Others weren’t so lucky.
Two days before Christmas, 24-year-old Edward Ortega-Landros was shot to death, in what police called a justifiable homicide, by another man after breaking into an ex-girlfriend’s apartment.
More recently, Billy Ogaldez shot Juan Perdomo, 20, three times, killing him, during a home invasion last month.
In a similar scenario to Ortega-Landros, another man shot 24-year-old Zachary Sais dead when Sais broke into his ex-girlfriend’s northeast Albuquerque apartment.