The homeowner, who was not injured, first heard glass shatter. It was two robbers breaking in through a back window.
"One burglar partially inside of his house ... he went and retrieved his weapon and fired off a couple of shots, hitting the individual coming through his window," said Detroit police Deputy Chief Rodney Johnson.
Police say it was a 17-year-old boy who the man shot and killed. The other robber got away.
Detroit homeowners have been fighting back. In just more than 2 weeks there have been five home invasions in which the homeowner has shot a robber. Three of the shootings have left would-be robbers dead.
Police say this is a strong message to criminals.
"They need to arm themselves, and whoever goes in your house, they get what they get. He got what he got," said neighbor Mary Beard.