Man charged in shooting defending home: son
‘I guess they did it to the wrong guy.’
east end man who faces assault and gun charges after allegedly shooting a would-be home invader was just trying to defend his family, his son says.
Hamilton police responded to reports of a shooting at 121 Avondale St. late Thursday night to find a 65-yearold man walking out of the house with his hands in the air.
“I’m the shooter,” the man told police, who arrested him.
Police later found the alleged home invader, a 24-year-old Hamilton man, at a nearby hospital suffering from gunshot wounds to the abdomen.
The owner of 121 Avondale identified the alleged shooter as his father, George Harbottle.
“A couple of guys tried to kick in the back door. … I guess they did it to the wrong guy,” said Chris White, who lives on the upper floors of the oneand-a-half storey green brick home.
White said he wouldn’t talk about the circumstances of the incident, including whether he was home at the time, for fear of jeopardizing the pending court case.
But he expressed frustration at the number and severity of charges his father faces compared to the alleged home invader.
The 24-year-old faces a charge of breakand-enter with intent.
“The guy defending the house and kids is the guy who ends up in jail?” White asked during a brief interview Friday.
He followed up with a detailed rhetorical question: “You’re sitting in your house, you have two kids sleeping, you hear bang, bang, bang, smash. You have 30 seconds to think about what you’re going to do.
“Are you going to grab your phone or a gun? People are coming into your house. If they can get you, they can get your kids. What are you going to do?”
Neighbours described Harbottle as a man with strong opinions and a sharp tongue who ran unsuccessfully for a Catholic board school trustee position in 2014.
White said his father was uninjured and in custody.
He said his understanding is his father needs a lawyer and will likely not have a bail hearing until after the weekend.
Spokesperson Const. Claus Wagner said police used a warrant to seize an “unusual” firearm from the Avondale house Friday that was not a typical rifle or handgun. He said the weapon looked similar to an AK-47, but was not actually that infamous banned assault rifle.
In addition to a charge of aggravated assault, the 65-year-old is expected to face charges of discharge of a firearm with intent, unauthorized possession of a firearm, careless use of a firearm and possession of a dangerous weapon.
Wagner also said police believe the alleged home invasion attempt was targeted, rather than random.
But he said police cannot comment on why the home was targeted or any other circumstances about the shooting.
A smashed back door was clearly visible through the window Friday.
A nearby neighbour, who was fearful of being identified because of the violence, said she heard “loud banging” sometime after 10 p.m., and went outside to see two men “trying to bust in” at the back of the home.
The woman added she heard two shots fired before she made it back inside to call 911.
“I ran back, I locked the door and basically barricaded myself inside,” she said. “It was pretty scary for everyone.”
Police have asked anyone with information about the shooting to call detectives at 905-546-2918.
While the number of home invasions spiked last year and guns were sometimes involved, it is relatively rare for residents to defend themselves or their property with guns.
A Glanbrook homeowner is awaiting trial after being charged in the 2016 shooting death of 29-year-old Jon Styres.
Police believe the Ohsweken resident was shot while trying to steal a pickup truck from the laneway of homeowner Peter Khill, who faces a second-degree murder charge.
You have 30 seconds to think about what you’re going to do.” CHRIS WHITE SON OF ALLEGED SHOOTER
A man was shot after a suspected home invasion Thursday night.
Police believe an alleged home invasion Thursday night on Avondale Street was not a random act, but targeted attempt.