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Wary Apartment Resident Slays Intruder; Dead Man Was on Parole From Prison

Times Staff Writer

A paroled burglar was shot and killed early Wednesday by the 22-year-old occupant of an East San Diego apartment the parolee had entered, apparently for the second time during the night, police reported.

The shooting in the 4200 block of Estrella Street occurred shortly before 3 a.m. when Craig Lyman fired seven rounds from a .223-caliber semiautomatic rifle at the intruder, police spokesman Bill Robinson said.

Lyman told police he had gone to sleep in the living room with the rifle nearby because he feared the return of a burglar who had broken into the apartment several hours earlier. Lyman said he awoke when he heard a noise and opened fire when he saw the intruder’s flashlight beaming into the living room from the kitchen.

‘Grabbed My Rifle’

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“I grabbed my rifle that was lying next to me when I heard someone in the kitchen,” Lyman said. “I thought I was a dead man because he was so close to where I was lying. As soon as he was in my view, I shot at him. I was scared to death and just thought it’s either him or me.”

Lyman said he immediately phoned police and held the rifle pointed at the burglar’s head until they arrived.

“I wanted to make sure he wasn’t going to get up again,” he said. “I shot at him seven times and he didn’t fall until the last shot. It was so dark, I wasn’t sure how many times I hit him.”

The intruder, identified as George A. Wilson, 36, was dead when police arrived. Robinson said that it was not immediately determined how many bullets struck Wilson but that it was more than one.

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Wilson had been paroled recently from the state prison at Vacaville, where he served time on a burglary conviction, Robinson said. Police believe Wilson may have been responsible for the earlier burglary at Lyman’s apartment.

Lyman said he discovered the first burglary when he returned home from work about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday. A television set, a videocassette recorder, a camera and a 9-millimeter handgun were taken. He called police and an officer went to the apartment to take a burglary report, Robinson said.

‘Might Come Back’

“I wondered why he only took the one gun,” Lyman said. “I had a total of four rifles and two pistols in my place, so it kind of worried me that he only took the one. I also own over $2,500 worth of stereo equipment. I wondered why he didn’t take that either. It crossed my mind that he might come back for the other things, but I really didn’t think he would.”

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Because the kitchen window had been jimmied open during the first break-in, Lyman feared the burglar might return armed with the stolen gun, so he decided to sleep in his living room with a rifle nearby, police said.

Lyman, a San Diego State University student and assistant manager at a fast-food restaurant, was questioned by homicide detectives and released. Once the investigation is completed, the results will be sent to the district attorney’s office to determine if criminal charges will be filed against Lyman, Robinson said.

“I was just trying to protect myself,” Lyman said. “I had no clue what was going to happen--first I got burglarized, then I end up killing someone. It’s crazy, and I just want to get on with my life.”

The incident was the second in San Diego County in two weeks in which an intruder was slain in a home. On April 23, a 76-year-old San Marcos man shot an intruder who had entered his mobile home through a window.

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