In England, He’d be in Jail

For that matter, in New York City he would, too. (Registration required to view article. Originally published 9/1/2003)

Shotgun In Hand, Homeowner Waited In Dark For Intruders

Norwich Man Shoots At Pair He Couldn’t See, Hitting One In Stomach

Three times during the past month thieves broke into a home at 154 Salem Turnpike owned by George Blacker. They took books, lamps, clocks and other family possessions.

The 61-year-old Blacker, who says he is legally blind, had seen enough.

So a week ago, after the last burglary, he began spending the night at the usually vacant house instead of his home on Scotland Road. He also removed some items from the house.

On Friday night, Blacker was sitting in a chair listening to a radio just before 10 p.m. He was holding his father’s 12-gauge shotgun. It was dark inside because the house has no electricity.

Blacker said he heard someone breaking in through the back door. He could tell there were two men because they were talking to each other.

“There’s a lot less stuff than the last time we were here,” he heard one man tell the other.

As the men came into the living room where Blacker was sitting, he raised the shotgun. He said he couldn’t see the men, so he fired in the direction of the sounds they made. He estimated they were just a few feet away.

Blacker said the men never saw him and he never said anything to them.

“I was afraid for my life,” he said Sunday. “ I hit one and he ran out with the other one. I can’t get around very fast and by the time I got outside they had disappeared. I looked around and then came in and called 911.”

After he fired the one shot, he said that one man told him, “Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot!”

“I scared them half to death. They didn’t even know I was there,” he said.

Police responded and found the man Blacker shot in the stomach, William R. Derose, 43, of 6 Union St., Apt. 1. He was taken to The William W. Backus Hospital, where he was listed in good condition Sunday. Police are investigating the incident and, as of Sunday night, Derose had not been charged.

Blacker was interested in how the man was doing Sunday and wanted to know whether police were guarding him in the hospital. They were not.

On Friday night, police searched nearby Maplewood Cemetery for the second suspect, who has not been identified, but could not locate him. Police ask anyone with information on the incident to contact the Norwich Police Department’s detective’s division at 886-5561 or leave a message on the anonymous tip-line at ext. 500.

Blacker said he felt justified in shooting Derose.

“I was there to protect my house and my goods. They wouldn’t have got shot if they hadn’t of been in there,” he said. “I didn’t shoot him in the street. I shot him in my house. It’s my house.”

Well, Mr. Blacker, that seems to depend on just where you live, doesn’t it? But I’m on your side.

He was questioned by police early Saturday morning.

Blacker, who is married with a son, said he checks on the house each day. He said his family has praised him for his actions.

“They’re happy it turned out the way it did,” he said.

So am I. But you could have fired a couple more rounds, IMHO.

UPDATE: 9/15/03 – As of this time, Mr. Blacker has still not been charged. Apparently the District Attorney for Norwich is a far more reasonable man than any DA in NYC.

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