ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - A burglar likely holding a stolen drill took a shotgun blast to the head from a homeowner who thought the man was pointing a gun at him, Bernalillo County sheriff's deputies report.
Deputies said a burglar was shot in the head and almost killed when the homeowner's cousin caught him red-handed and thought he was pointing a gun.
Detectives said it turns out it wasn't a gun the suspect pointed, it was actually a drill stolen from the homeowner who shot him.
According to the investigative report, the two men returned home late Saturday night and heard someone on the South Valley property near Isleta Boulevard and Pajarito Road.
"There was property damage, forced entry things like that," sheriff's Capt. Sid Covington told KRQE News 13. "Items were removed from the shed and the workshop, so there was an active burglary going on."
The men grabbed guns and searched the yard.
The cousin told deputies he came face-to-face with the burglar near the garage and said the suspect pointed a gun at him. That's when he fired his shotgun.
When deputies arrived, they found the suspect, Victor Perez, 50, shot in the head and lying in a pool of blood.
Perez had crawled to a ditch bank on the south end of the property and was responsive enough to tell detectives he had fallen.
Next to him deputies found a power saw, car subwoofer and other tools taken from the victims' property. Covington said he also had the drill likely mistaken for a gun in the dark.
"In this case, they felt like they were in fear of their lives, they had what they thought was a firearm pointed at them," said Covington. "They took action, so in this case the means seem to be justified."
Detectives said they've had Perez on their radar for other crimes. When they searched his home Monday night, Covington said they found allegedly stolen items from other cases.
Perez lived in the area where he was shot, and investigators working to figure out who else he may have targeted.
"Its quiet back here," one neighbor said. "We've never had to worry about anything, but now you know, we're going to start keeping the doors locked."
Covington advised anyone who walks in on a burglary to stay away, get a description if possible and call law enforcement.
"I would recommend remove yourself and your family from the situation and get to a safe place. Don't confront that person," he said. "There's no piece of property, no television, you know, no tool that is worth somebody's life."
Perez is in the hospital and expected to live. Online court records show he's had multiple DWI charges but no arrests for burglary.
Detectives also are working to figure out if Perez had anyone helping him that night.
Santa Fe police are working on a new way to put a stop to busy burglars. Instead of throwing them in jail they want to put them rehab.
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