A self-defense shooting in Atlanta last week proves once again the age-old adage, “Expect the unexpected.”
A man living in a suburban neighborhood northeast of Atlanta discovered on Thursday morning his next-door neighbor, 42-year-old Andrew Strauss, breaking the windows on his home and wielding a machete. After warning Strauss to stop, the homeowner shot the intruder, who was pronounced dead at a hospital later that morning.
“We don’t know what kind of contact, what kind of relationship they had,” DeKalb County police Lt. Rod Bryant told AJC.com. “We’re getting information that this guy just came uninvited and tried to break inside the residence, and we are still trying to conduct an investigation to find out why.”
One of the other neighborhood residents described the surreal scene to Fox 5 Atlanta.
“He was yelling and screaming at him with the machete and it was really menacing. My neighbor kept telling him, ‘I’ve gotta gun, I’ve gotta gun, I’ll shoot you.’ Then the man broke in and he [the homeowner] shot him. He was trying to protect his life,” said the neighbor, who did not want to be identified.
The homeowner, who has declined to speak to the media, is unlikely to be investigated for any criminal misconduct, police told Fox 5.
The other neighbors who spoke to the media sounded just as baffled as police when asked about Strauss’s potential motives.
Laurie Gentry and her husband claim to have known Strauss, but told FOX 5 she has no idea what could have sparked such a violent encounter.
“I don’t know the ins and outs of his life. All I can tell you that he was a good person and it’s hard to believe he is gone. He liked his neighbors–even described them as good people, so I just can’t imagine why this happened,” said Gentry.
As for the homeowner, neighbors expressed surprise and sadness when they heard about the incident.
“He’s the really nice guy that you see out walking his dog–speaks to everyone, just a friendly guy. Everyone is concerned for him and for his family as far as the emotional toll this must be taking on them,” neighbor Brad Castlen told Fox 5. “There was never any noise or any kind of instances between the two of them or anyone here, so this is really shocking to wake up to.”
Police visited the same neighborhood approximately four hours before the shooting after receiving calls about a man “screaming at the top of his lungs.” Police didn’t find the man or speak with any of the neighbors.
“We don’t know if that was related,” Bryant said.