Orange County prosecutors have concluded that a Newport Beach homeowner acted in self-defense when he fatally shot and killed an intruder in August, the Orange County district attorney said on Monday.
Henry Lehr, 23, of Tucson, Arizona, was shot dead in a house near Indus Street and Redlands Drive at around 4:15 am on August 26.
Lehr left a residential detox center around 4:10 am that day and told staff that he had seen “demons,” according to Orange County prosecutors.
Lehr came into a courtyard of a house a few doors down from the detox center and pounded on the front door and rang the doorbell when he asked to be admitted, prosecutors said.
Lehr eventually broke in and was walking up the stairs when the homeowner woke up, retrieved his gun, and demanded that the intruder stop and identify himself, prosecutors said.
It happened in a house in Newport Beach. / Vikki Vargas will report for NBC4 News on Thursday, August 26, 2021.
When Lehr did not respond and kept storming up the stairs, the man opened fire and then turned to his wife to call 911, who was shot in the chest, prosecutors said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
“A homeowner has an absolute right to protect themselves from someone breaking into their home in the middle of the night and compromising their safety,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer.
“The loss of life is tragic in any situation, and that situation is made even more tragic by the fact that a person who went to a group for help with their addiction problems ended up on a fatal collision course with a homeowner who just happened to be sleeps in his own bed in his own house.
“For this very reason, I have resisted allowing shared apartments in residential areas throughout my entire career, including as a member of the state parliament. The people in this shared apartment knew the young man was struggling – but no one went to see him. ” .
“People struggling with addiction problems need a safe environment in which to work towards sobriety, and people who live in residential areas shouldn’t have to live in fear of being woken up by someone struggling with addiction who breaks her front door. “
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