Dallas Man Fatally Shot Suspected Burglar Behind His Home, Then Went Inside To Go To Sleep, Police Say

Police lights flash on a cruiser.
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A 72-year-old Dallas man is accused of fatally shooting a suspected burglar behind his home, then went back inside and went to sleep for a few hours before telling police about the dead man in his yard.

Police say James Michael Meyer awoke early on Thursday morning by a noise outside his home and saw a person believed to be breaking into his shed. Police said the 72-year-old man grabbed a gun and ran outside, yelling at the suspected intruder to stop and not come any closer, NBC News reported. Meyer claimed that the person took several steps toward him, prompting the homeowner to open fire.

Meyer said that the suspected burglar dropped a pickax he was using to break into the shed and ran toward a park behind the home. The homeowner admitted to firing one more time into the darkness toward the park before going back into his home to go to bed.

But the person breaking into the home was hit and fatally wounded. As the Dallas News reported, Meyer claimed that as the sun came up he saw what he thought was a black bag in the park, but on closer inspection saw it was the dead body of the suspected intruder.

Police said that Meyer did not call 911 until a few hours afterward. Instead, his wife called her attorney first before he called 911. As the Dallas News noted, Meyer also refused to give the 911 dispatcher details about the shooting and concealed evidence about the shooting once police arrived.

“According to the affidavit, he refused to answer the dispatcher’s questions, saying repeatedly that he was the victim of a crime and that medical assistance was needed,” the report noted. “When investigators couldn’t find any spent shell casings, Meyer told them he had thrown them in the trash.”

Neighbors also told police that they heard three gunshots, contradicting Meyer’s claim that he had fired twice at the alleged intruder.

This is not the first fatal shooting of a suspected intruder to gain national headlines. Back in 2017, a Washington homeowner was arrested for shooting and killing an intruder he had found in his shower. Police said the homeowner had arrived at the home to find the intruder, and the two exchanged words before the homeowner left and went to another property where he retrieved a gun. When the homeowner returned, he fatally shot the suspected intruder, police said.

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This week’s fatal shooting also takes place against the backdrop of the trial for a Dallas police officer who entered the wrong apartment and fatally shot the man inside, believing he was an intruder in her home.

In Dallas, police have charged James Michael Meyer with murder for the shooting of the suspected intruder.