Milford police have confirmed that the 25-year-old man who broke into a Point Lookout residence naked Saturday is a former standout swimmer from Trumbull.
Police described the crime as a home invasion, and said details are still being investigated.
The intruder, Benjamin Prue of Rolesville, N.C., formerly of West Haven and Trumbull, remains in critical condition after being shot in the chest Saturday by the homeowner, Gerald Mirto, 67, of 66 Point Lookout.
According to news reports, Prue was an award-winning swimmer in Trumbull, and later at Virginia Tech and Southern Connecticut State University.
An online source describing his swimming ability at Virginia Tech reads, “Excellent summer of training and competition has prepared Ben for his freshman campaign. He has the ability to swim a wide range of events for our program.”
The Virginia Tech website says he swam for “Diane Honrath at Trumbull … Earned All-America honors his senior season in the 100 back … Two-time all-state in the 100 back … All-state in the 500 free his junior season … Was on the Wilton Y Wahoos 200 and 400 medley relay first-place teams at the YMCA Nationals.”
According to Milford police, a call came in shortly after 10 p.m. Saturday.
Chief Keith Mello said the homeowner 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 allegedly 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 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.
There is no evidence the that Prue knew Mirto, police said. Mello said Prue’s clothes were found at his car, along with a crack pipe and vials.
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.