ELIZABETH, Pa. (AP) – An 84-year-old western Pennsylvania man and Korean War vet shot and wounded a home invasion suspect, and then forgave the man’s family when they came to apologize.
Police said Raymond Hiles, 25, was captured Tuesday not long after trying to break into Fred Ricciutti’s Elizabeth Township home, about 15 miles south of Pittsburgh.
“My wife and I were asleep. We were staying downstairs because my wife is ill,” Ricciutti told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
Ricciutti said he heard a noise at about 4:30 a.m. and could see someone coming into the room. He pulled a gun out of a drawer, yelled a warning at Hiles and then fired once, hitting him in the neck.
Ricciutti, who was born in Italy, said he came to the U.S. in 1937, and later served in a tank battalion during the Korean War.
“In the war I experienced a lot of bad things, but I had never experienced that in my own house,” he said of the invasion.
Ricciutti said the suspect lives across the street, and he’s never faced any hostility in the town.
“I know the family. They’re good people,” he said, adding that they came over in tears to apologize for what Hiles allegedly did.
“I forgave them,” he said, adding that he couldn’t hold them responsible for Hiles’ actions.
WPXI-TV first reported that investigators said Hiles was arrested a few blocks away, carrying a screwdriver and a stun gun. He’s being held on $100,000 bail on charges including criminal trespass and burglary.
Online court records don’t list an attorney for Hiles.
Authorities said they don’t expect to bring any charges against Ricciutti.
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