A central Florida man accused of chasing down and fatally shooting a suspected burglar Thursday told police he acted in self-defense.
Claudius Smith, 33, reportedly was inside his home in Orlando when his girlfriend noticed a man on surveillance video walking around his yard in dark clothing. He says the man the climbed over a fence into a nearby apartment complex.
According to the documents obtained by the Sentinel, Smith told police he had had recent problems with burglaries at his home and was “certain” the man seen on the surveillance video was responsible. Smith told police he jumped the fence into the apartment complex, armed with a handgun, and saw [Ricardo] Sanes, 21, “looking into windows of apartments as he walked past them.”
Smith said he pulled out his gun and confronted Sanes, grabbing Sanes’ hooded sweatshirt and trying to force him back to his house so he could call the police, reports the paper. Smith said Sanes “punched him in the mouth and grabbed for his gun.” Fearing Sanes was armed, Smith shot, reports the paper. Police did later find a handgun concealed in Sanes’ pants. However, investigators also reportedly discovered that Sanes was shot in the back, which could contradict Smith’s story.
After a manhunt, Smith was detained at a home about four miles away from where the incident took place. It is unclear whether Smith will claim “stand your ground” immunity.
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