SOUTHGATE, Mich. – A 19-year-old is dead after breaking into his neighbor's home early Thursday morning and being shot by the homeowner, Local 4 has learned.
Southgate police have not officially identified the intruder, but Local 4 spoke with family members who identified the deceased as 19-year-old James Clickard.
The incident happened just before 5 a.m. in the 15000 block of Flanders Street, just south of Eureka Road.
Southgate Director of Public Safety Thomas Coombs said the 74-year-old homeowner got his gun when he heard the intruder, who was also armed, break in.
"As he walked through the home, the home invader confronted him with the gun. He shot the home invader and the home invader died here on scene," Coombs said.
Neighbors know the 74-year-old man as "Larry." They say he legally carries a gun and they know he would defend his home.
Clickard's uncle, Edward Clickard, said his family has been desperately trying to help James through depression and a drug addiction which intensified after the teen's father committed suicide this past fall.
When Edward saw police next-door, he called to check on Larry, knowing that Larry's wife is being treated for cancer.
"He just said that he had an intruder last night. I suspected it might have been my nephew," said Edward.
Edward said he believes James was after prescription drugs. He made an emotional plea to other young people hooked on pills to get help.
"Nobody wants to see anybody get hurt. No one wants to see what that nice old man next-door and his wife are going through right now. Nobody wants to see you guys in jail for something stupid. It could have gone a totally different way," said Edward.