A New York homeowner was arrested this week after fatally shooting two suspected burglars with an unregistered handgun.
Ronald A. Stolarczyk, 64, confronted 57-year-old Patricia Anne Talerico and her nephew, 27-year-old Nicholas Talerico, both of Utica, at his residence in Deerfield, NY, Tuesday afternoon. The two suspects were in his garage going through his stuff, according to police.
Evidently fearing for his life, Stolarczyk opened fire on the uninvited guests. Ms. Talerico would be pronounced dead at the scene, while her nephew would be transported to a local hospital where he, too, would die from injuries sustained in the shooting.
“The word that we had originally was a possible home invasion, possible suspect running at large,” New York State Police Trooper Jack Keller told WSYR-TV. “We were able to quickly identify who those people were identified as…but also we were able to determine quickly that there was no one else and the public was not in danger at all.”
Police indicated that this may not have been the first time that Stolarczyk’s home was targeted by the duo. Investigators found items belonging to Stolarczyk at Nicholas Talerico’s home. No word yet on whether the victim knew the burglars or vice versa.
Stolarczyk, so far, is not being charged for his use of force in defending his home — but he is being charged with felony possession of an illegal handgun, a class “E” felony.
Under state law, all handguns must be registered. The handgun Stolarczyk used in the shooting belonged to his deceased father. Stolarczyk told District Attorney Scott McNamara that he forgot to register it, reports Syracuse.com.
McNamara added, “There is no indication the homeowner had money or drugs.” So, it doesn’t appear to be a drug deal gone bad.
Though early signs point to a burglary, an investigation is ongoing to determine the motive of the suspects.
Stolarczyk, if convicted, can face up to 4 years in prison. Additionally, as a convicted felon, he would permanently lose his right to keep and bear arms. New York is one of only a handful of states that requires gun owners to register pistols and revolvers.