Hickory man, 71, shoots home intruder

A 71-year-old man said he didn’t have a choice after shooting a man who was breaking into his Hickory home Monday night.

HICKORY, N.C. — A 71-year-old man said he didn’t have a choice after shooting a man who was breaking into his Hickory home Monday night.

He told Eyewitness News reporter Dave Faherty the shooting was instinct after he heard his sliding glass door get smashed in.
 
He first heard a knock at the front door, it was late so he didn't answer it.
 
The about 10 to 15 minutes later, he heard the intruder trying to get in through the glass door in the rear of the home.
 
Tony Pitts said he was in his bed watching TV when he heard the sound of shattered glass.

"I'm disabled and somebody kicks the door in, I got to do something," Pitts said. "I seen him coming in the door and standings over there and I shot him somewhere right here."
 
Pitts said he fired his .22 pistol three times striking the man twice in the chest. The third shot hit a nearby door frame.
 
He never had seen the intruder prior to Monday night.
 
"I didn't want to but had to," Pitts said. "If I hadn't shot him, he might have shot me. I don't know."
 
Police are not releasing the name of the man who they are calling a possible suspect in the break-in, but confirmed he did undergo surgery and is in stable condition. 
 
Pitts' friends said they would have done the same thing if someone tried to break into their home.

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"He did the right thing I would have done the same thing," Leonard Jennings said. "These people are dangerous you know. Hate to shoot people like that, but these people make you shoot them."
 
Police said it doesn't appear Pitts will be charged in the case.

On Feb. 23, police arrested Brian Eckard, 36, and charged him with first-degree burglary.

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