A Georgia man shot and killed three masked teens who were attempting to rob his home early Monday morning, local media reports. The teens approached the home just before 4 a.m., and one of them fired a gun at the three residents who were standing in the front yard.
Rockdale County Sheriff Eric Levett told reporters that one of the residents, a man in his late 40s to early 50s, retrieved his own gun and returned fire.
“Upon our arrival, the deceased was at the edge of a driveway and partially in the roadway,” Levett said. “The other young man was a little bit down the street, where it appears he was running.”
“The victims of the attempted robbery were all uninjured, but the three attempted robbery suspects were all shot during the exchange of gunfire and succumbed to their injuries, one on scene and two at a local hospital after being transported,” the sheriff’s department said in a news release.
All of the teens were between 15 and 16 years old, and two of them were brothers, according to WSB-TV.
Neither the homeowner nor the teens have been identified, and no one has yet been charged with a crime.
Neighbors told WSB that the homeowner is a truck driver who owns a semi-automatic rifle and is highly protective of his mother.
Authorities discovered two types of firearms at the scene but are still trying to determine who owns them.
Neighbors report hearing handgun shots followed by rifle fire.
“It was five shots and then it sounded like a handgun. Then I heard somebody have an assault rifle. And it was a slew of shots that came out,” neighbor Carlos Watson told WSB.
Both Watson and neighbor Brian Jenkins report hearing a man calling for help following the incident.
“I heard a guy yelling for help. ‘Help me, help me, I’m dying, I’m dying, help me, help me,'” neighbor Brian Jenkins told WSB. Jenkins said the teen appeared to have been shot in the shoulder and was wearing a mask around his neck.
“I heard somebody yell for help … then I heard it again, and that’s when I came outside,” Watson told Atlanta media outlet AJC. “There was one gentleman laid out and our neighbor Mr. Jenkins was helping him out.”
The investigation is ongoing, but Levett said Monday that this could be a “stand-your-ground type of case.”
Georgia is one of 25 states that does not require a person to retreat from a lawfully occupied space, and allows for the use of deadly force to “prevent death or great bodily injury to himself or herself or a third person or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”
Georgia is also one of 10 states that specifically uses language allowing residents to “stand his or her ground,” according to the National Conference of State Legislators.