Retired Marine engages Temecula home burglars in fierce gun battle, hitting one

TEMECULA — When two men reportedly broke into a private residence in a rural, unincorporated area northeast of Temecula and southeast of Lake Skinner, one man – a retired Marine – decided he was not going to be victimized without a fight.  After arming himself with a handgun, the homeowner confronted the burglars, engaging the pair in a fierce gun battle that sent one of the alleged suspects to the hospital with gunshot injuries.

After being contacted yesterday for information about the shooting, which happened early Thursday morning, Dec. 13, Riverside Sheriff’s Media Information Bureau told RCNS this morning that they have identified the gunshot injured man taken to the hospital and are still working to determine if he was actually involved in the violent encounter. They are also reportedly working to identify at least two other people, a man and woman who may have also been involved, who were captured on hospital surveillance footage dropping off the injured man.

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Deputies assigned to the Sheriff’s Southwest Station responded to a residence in the area of Bella Vista and Glen Oaks roads about 1:45 a.m., after receiving reports of an attempted burglary and shooting, according to MIB officials. The 911 caller told emergency dispatchers he had just been involved in a shooting with two unknown males he found inside his home.

When deputies arrived at the home, they learned the two men had fled from the location prior to their arrival. The homeowner, who was not injured during the shootout, told investigating deputies he believed he had shot at least one of the two intruders.

Deputies began searching the area for the alleged suspects and notified all area hospitals “to be on the lookout for suspicious gunshot wound patients,” MIB officials explained.

A short time later, at 2:14 a.m., Rancho Springs Medical Center notified deputies that a man with a gunshot wound had been dropped off at the hospital and was receiving treatment.

According to sources familiar with the ongoing sheriff’s investigation who requested to remain anonymous, video surveillance captured by the hospital “showed a man and woman putting the wounded suspect in a wheelchair, then fleeing in the stolen pickup they were driving.”

During their subsequent investigation deputies learned the victim, whose name has not been publicly released, confronted the two suspects inside his home during their attempted burglary. According to anonymous sources, one of the alleged suspects opened fire on the homeowner, at which time the retired Marine returned fire, engaging the pair in a shootout inside his own home.

Although the homeowner reportedly fired all the rounds from his handgun – emptying the weapon’s California-compliant, legally restricted and limited magazine – the victim told deputies that at least one of his fired rounds struck one of the two men.

After emptying his magazine and running out of ammunition, the victim took shelter inside a bathroom of his home as the suspects fled from the house into the yard. Even as they were fleeing, the two suspects continued firing “numerous rounds back into the house,” sources explained.

The man who was believed to have been shot during this incident is still receiving medical treatment, according to MIB, and has not yet been arrested, as the sheriff’s investigation continues.

The case has since been turned over to Southwest Station investigators, and their investigation is active and ongoing.

Anyone with information regarding this incident and investigation or who knows the identities and whereabouts of the man and woman seen dropping the gunshot injured man at the hospital is encouraged to immediately contact Southwest Station’s Investigation’s Bureau at (951) 696-3000. Callers can remain anonymous. Citizens may also submit a tip using the Sheriff’s Homicide Tipline online form.

This is a developing story that will be updated as new information is available.


Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 47, moved last year to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle, and Anza Valley Outlook; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 28 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.

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