The 25-year-old intruder who was shot after reportedly breaking into a Point Lookout residence Saturday was naked when he entered the house, police said Monday during an afternoon press conference.
Police are describing the crime as a home invasion, and the details are still being investigated.
The intruder, Benjamin Prue of Rolesville, N.C., formerly of West Haven, remains in critical condition after being shot in the chest Saturday by the homeowner, Gerald Mirto, 67, of 66 Point Lookout.
According to police, a call came in shortly after 10 p.m. Saturday.
Chief Keith Mello said Mirto told police he heard a noise outside Saturday evening and looked out a second floor window. He went downstairs to investigate further and reportedly spotted Prue, wearing no clothes, pushing a screen to gain entry to the house.
Mello said Prue charged at the homeowner — “rushed him” — and Mirto ran to the second floor and armed himself with a handgun, which he is licensed to carry. He also dialed 911.
Mirto went downstairs and fired the handgun toward the ceiling, he told police. But the firearm didn’t work, and he ran back upstairs and got a second gun.
The homeowner told police he returned to the first floor of his residence and found Prue trying to steal a television set, police said. Mirto said he told the man to leave his home, but the suspect again rushed him and tried to fight.
Mirto then shot the intruder in the chest.
When police arrived they found Prue behind the house, up to his knees in the water of Long Island Sound. Despite his wound, he was combative with officers, Mello said.
Prue remains in critical condition at Yale-New Haven Hospital in police custody. Mello said he believes the suspect, who is being guarded by local police, has undergone two surgeries.
Mirto was also taken to an area hospital for injuries he sustained, including a bite to his hand and an injury to the left side of his head.
Police said a gray 2000 Volvo with Connecticut registration, which Prue owns, was parked a short distance from the victim’s home with the trunk open. Inside the vehicle, police said they observed evidence of crack cocaine and paraphernalia used to ingest it. Mello said Prue had no weapons in the car or on his person. The vehicle has been seized as evidence in the investigation.
Police secured evidence inside the home, including the gun and slug. All the information will be turned over to the state’s attorney’s office to determine if Mirto used appropriate force in firing his weapon.
“All indications from the evidence and from the homeowner is that he used force to protect himself and his home,” Mello said.
He didn’t offer any views on whether Mirto acted appropriately, noting the job of the local police is to gather information and then present it to the state’s attorney to make the call.
He did say, however, that whenever a person is in danger, he should call 911.
Mirto was alone in his home at the time. His wife was out for the evening, police said.
The suspect had arrived in Connecticut from North Carolina on Thursday, and police are checking on his whereabouts between then and Saturday.
Prue is expected to be charged with home invasion, burglary and assault when he is arraigned. Mello said he will have to recover before being arraigned.
Anyone with information about the incident or who may have seen the vehicle in the area is asked to contact Det. Sgt. Henry Chacon at the Milford Police Detective Division at 203-877-1465.