Long Beach police said Thursday that they were investigating a shooting in which an 80-year-old man killed a woman who may have been pregnant after she and an accomplice broke into his home.
Police said they would present their findings to prosecutors, who would determine whether the man was justified in slaying the woman during the incident at his Bixby Knolls home on Tuesday. The man identified himself as Tom Greer in an interview with NBC Channel 4.
Another man, suspected of being the woman's accomplice, was arrested in connection with the incident, police said during a Thursday afternoon news conference.
Police identified the slain woman as Andrea Miller, 28, who lived in Long Beach.
Gus Adams, 26, was arrested on suspicion of residential robbery and murder in connection with Miller's death, Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell said. Adams is a Long Beach resident.
Greer told Channel 4 that he acted in self-defense Tuesday night and that the pair had burglarized his home twice before.
“They’ve been here twice so they know the routine,” he said Wednesday in an interview with the television station.
McDonnell said that the home had been burglarized on three previous occassions. No one was home at the time of those incidents.
Greer said that he walked into his home Tuesday night in the 3900 block of Country Club Drive and found a man and woman trying to break into his safe. He said they tackled him and that he broke his collar bone in the scuffle.
Police confirmed that the intruders beat Greer with their fists, body slammed him to the ground and tried to break into his safe.
Greer said the intruders let him get to his feet and watch as the man went into the garage to find a tool to help him open the safe. While the woman was momentarily distracted, Greer said, he grabbed a small .22-caliber revolver that he kept in his home.
When the couple saw that Greer had a gun, they ran, according to Greer's account. He said he chased after the couple, and the woman shouted, "Don't shoot me! I'm pregnant -- I'm going to have a baby."
“I shot her anyway,” Greer said. “The lady didn’t run as fast as the man so I shot her in the back twice --she’s dead … but he got away.”
Police said the woman was shot as she fled and that she died after collapsing in an alley behind Greer's home.
Greer told the television station that he then pulled the woman’s body back toward his home. “I shot her twice, she best be dead,” he said.
Officials at the Los Angeles County coroner's office said Thursday that an autopsy would determine whether the woman was pregnant.
On Thursday, neighbors said they were surprised by the fatal shooting in their mostly peaceful neighborhood, which is lined with single-story homes and manicured grassy lawns. They were also taken aback that Greer was inside his home at the time of the incident.
Some neighbors said they rarely saw Greer and even wondered whether he was living at his red brick and stucco home, which appeared run-down and not as maintained as other houses in the area. The front door of the house is surrounded by steely bars.
Greer told Channel 4 that he had acted in self-defense and had no regrets. In fact, he said, the shooting may have scared off another burglar in the future.
“I’ve never in my life shot anybody, killed anybody ... but when the time comes to defend yourself, you best do something,” Greer told Channel 4. “Due to the fact his wife or girlfriend is dead, he might think twice before coming back.”
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