Neighborhood on Edge After Shooting : Crime: District attorney's office will investigate whether Anaheim homeowner acted properly in gunning down intruders. Residents rally to support him.


Two days after a retired police sergeant opened fire on armed intruders as they tried to escape from his home, a burglar alarm salesman Saturday was peddling his wares on North Hanover Street.

Probably nowhere else in Orange County could the salesman have found a more receptive group of potential buyers. On Thanksgiving night, their neighbor Earl Swoap used his 12-gauge shotgun to shoot three of four teen-agers who allegedly had broken into his home. Nearby residents said Saturday they fear that the quiet neighborhood might be the target of violent retaliation.

"The fear stays with you," said one neighborhood woman. "I'm glad he (Swoap) did what he did. I think it's a smart idea to get a gun. I don't want to give my name because I'm afraid they'll come back."

The incident began when the 53-year-old Swoap was startled by a loud crash in his home, grabbed his shotgun and allegedly found four intruders inside, three of them armed.

In a series of events still under investigation, police said Swoap opened fire, killing a 16-year-old boy and wounding two others as they attempted to escape in a sports car parked in Swoap's driveway.

Authorities declined to identify the dead youth. The two wounded suspects, who were arrested on suspicion of attempted robbery, were identified as a 17-year-old Garden Grove boy and 19-year-old Phouxauy Vanhnarath of Costa Mesa. They were taken to UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange.

A fourth suspect, Sayavong Nanthavongdouangsy, 18, of Anaheim, was not injured. The names of the juveniles were withheld because of their ages. Nanthavongdouangsy, also arrested on suspicion of attempted robbery, was being held at the Anaheim Temporary Detention Facility.

No charges have been filed against Swoap. Anaheim police said the case will be referred to the Orange County district attorney's office to determine whether he acted properly in the shooting. Swoap, a Hughes Aircraft security guard, retired from the Yakima, Wash., police force 13 years ago.

Anaheim police declined further comment on the case Saturday. Police are trying to determine whether the incident was one in a number of Orange County home invasions involving teen-agers recruited by Asian gangs.

At Swoap's residence Saturday, a relative who would not identify herself said neighbors have been offering support for his action. The woman said Swoap had not been at home for some time and was staying at an undisclosed location.

"What makes me feel bad is that others seem to feel sorry for the ones who held them up," the woman neighbor said. "It's a shame for their parents, but we all wonder why they picked his house. I'm afraid they might come back by and shoot at the house like they do in L.A."

Down the street, Adela Castenada said she had been afraid to return home after the incident and will lock the iron gate that shields her front door.

"We just moved here one year ago," Castenada said. Her family was returning home and had just turned the corner to North Hanover Street after celebrating Thanksgiving when they saw the police lights flashing and the wounded suspects lying covered with blood on the ground, she said.

"It was terrible," she said. "I hope it never happens again."

Orange County Dist. Atty. Michael Capizzi said a review will be conducted to determine whether Swoap was justified in using his shotgun against the suspects.

Capizzi said the case "would be treated like any other incident."

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