Man charged in shoot­ing de­fend­ing home: son

‘I guess they did it to the wrong guy.’

The Hamilton Spectator - - FRONT PAGE - MATTHEW VAN DONGEN

A 65-YEAR-OLD

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

DAVID RITCHIE, SPE­CIAL TO THE HAMIL­TON SPEC­TA­TOR

A man was shot af­ter a sus­pected home in­va­sion Thurs­day night.

BARRY GRAY, THE HAMIL­TON SPEC­TA­TOR

Po­lice be­lieve an al­leged home in­va­sion Thurs­day night on Avon­dale Street was not a ran­dom act, but tar­geted at­tempt.

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