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redeyechicago.com

Cops: Burglar shot to death by homeowner on West Side

By Rosemary Regina Sobol

Tribune reporter

3:26 AM CST, February 1, 2014

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A 44-year-old man on crutches fatally shot one of two intruders who came charging at him Friday morning in the Heart of Chicago neighborhood, according to police.

Mario Viramontes, 31, was declared dead on the scene in 2000 block of West 21st Street at 9:22 a.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.

Police were called to the scene at 9:09 a.m. for a burglary, and when they arrived, they found that a "male offender" who had been trying to commit a burglary had been shot by the homeowner, said Police News Affairs Sgt. Antoinette Ursitti.

The 44-year-old homeowner was sleeping when his frightened 18-year-old daughter woke him up, then told him that she heard noises and thought someone was breaking into the apartment behind theirs, according to a police report.

At first she thought the noise was a heater in that apartment but after she heard something fall, she locked the door that separates the two residences, the report said.

The man "grabbed both of his crutches and walked over and unlocked and opened the door,'' the report said.

He did not see anyone at first, so he returned to his bedroom to get his gun. When he went back to the rear apartment, he saw two intruders "charging towards" him so he shot at them, according to the report.

Both burglars stopped, turned around and ran back towards the back door, but one of them collapsed and fell to the floor.

Two men were seen running away and yelling gang slogans and the 44-year-old told his daughter to call 911.

Responding officers found the back door of the rear apartment had been pried with a metal shovel and found shell casings on the kitchen floor, the report said.

During the course of the investigation, police learned the 44-year-old homeowner's Firearm Owners Identification card was expired and he was charged with one count of possessing a firearm with an expired FOID card, a misdemeanor, police said.

Viramontes lived in the 2100 block of West Cermak Road, about two blocks from the break-in, officials said. An autopsy is scheduled for later today.

Tribune reporter Liam Ford contributed

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