San Diego

Burglary Suspect Shot and Killed During Car Break-in Identified: ECPD

The homeowner fired several shots at the burglary suspect, striking him at least once, ECPD said.

A burglary suspect that was shot and killed in El Cajon while breaking into a car was identified Tuesday, police confirmed.

Joseph Mercurio, 31, was caught burglarizing a vehicle in front of a home on Chase Avenue last Sunday, according to the El Cajon Police Department.  In the midst of a confrontation, the homeowner fired several shots from a .357 revolver style handgun.

Mercurio was struck by one bullet that proved fatal. Police said the suspect died from his gunshot wound. 

While examining the case, homicide investigators learned that Mercurio was not only driving a stolen vehicle but had been working on at least two other car burglaries that night.

On Monday, El Cajon police said it is not likely that the homeowner will face any charges. Their investigation was launched shortly after Mercurio was found dead with a gunshot wound in a crashed car early Sunday.

After the suspected burglar was shot, he managed to get into his car and drive off before crashing into another person's house less than a quarter-mile away. Police said the homeowner reported the vehicle break-in and shooting, just as another caller reported a pickup truck had rammed into his home.

The incident began when a homeowner awoke to his dog's barking and looked outside to see a man stealing his vehicle, ECPD Lt. Walt Miller said. The homeowner grabbed a gun and went outside.

Neighbors told NBC 7 the man who fired the gun was visibly shaken after the confrontation.

"We see our neighbor kind of on the floor kind of in shock," Mariana Ritchie told NBC 7.

ECPD said the homeowner was cooperating with investigators and was not considered a suspect.

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