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Homeowner opens fire to warn off an intruder

The New Port Richey man said the suspect charged his window when he confronted him.

By MATTHEW WAITE, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published July 1, 2002


NEW PORT RICHEY -- A homeowner awakened by breaking glass gave a would-be burglar two warning shots Saturday before the burglar gave up, waited for deputies to arrest him and didn't remember being fired upon in the first place, a Pasco sheriff's office report said.

Charles Ruhe, 25, 7953 Putnam Circle in New Port Richey, was arrested early Saturday morning and was taken to the Land O'Lakes jail facing charges of attempted burglary, resisting arrest with violence and warrants charging him with violating his probation on burglary and dealing in stolen property charges.

The arrest report said homeowner David Skinner told deputies that he heard glass breaking in his Mitchell Ranch Road house at 4:10 a.m. At first, he thought it was the family cat, but when more glass broke, he grabbed his .380-caliber handgun and went to investigate.

Skinner said he found the living room window broken and he saw a dark figure, later identified as Ruhe, standing outside. Skinner said he ordered Ruhe into the light and to identify himself and Ruhe began swearing at him.

Skinner told deputies he told the man "I do not want to hurt you." Ruhe replied "I'm going to kill you. I'm gonna break in and burn down your house."

The report said Ruhe charged the living room window again, breaking more glass and Skinner fired a shot over Ruhe's shoulder and into the ground.

Skinner told deputies that Ruhe then became kind of docile, talking about his family. But then Ruhe became angry, charging the window again and threatening Skinner.

Skinner fired another shot past Ruhe and into the ground. The report said Ruhe then "slumped down onto the ground" where deputies found him.

According to deputies, Ruhe fought with them, kicking at deputies while they tried to handcuff him.

When deputies talked to Ruhe, he "had no idea how he ended up at Mr. Skinner's house." Ruhe said he was upset because of personal problems. Deputies said in their report that when they asked, Ruhe said he didn't know he had been fired upon twice.

After treatment for cuts to his hands, Ruhe was taken to the Land O'Lakes jail. He was being held without bail Sunday evening.

-- Matthew Waite can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6247 or (800) 333-7505, ext. 6247. His e-mail address is waite@sptimes.com.

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