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Man Thought to Be Intruder Is Shot Outside Simi Home

March 04, 1998|ROBERT GAMMON | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

SIMI VALLEY — A 66-year-old man shot an intruder who allegedly approached him menacingly, police said Tuesday.

James Kearns of Simi Valley fired his .38-caliber handgun several times at Luis Padilla, 39, also of Simi Valley, outside Kearns' home in the 2400 block of Royal Avenue just before 11 p.m. Monday, Simi Valley Police Lt. Neil Rein said.

Padilla was wounded in the chest and the foot and was taken to Simi Valley Hospital. He was in serious condition Tuesday in the intensive care unit, a spokeswoman said.

Kearns told detectives that he shot Padilla after he heard someone trying to break into his home and decided to investigate, Rein said. He came upon Padilla in an enclosed side yard.

Kearns told police he warned him several times to leave, but said Padilla advanced toward him. Kearns then fired several times. Padilla was not armed, Rein said.

Kearns' wife, Alice Kearns, also 66, called 911. Officers found Padilla lying on the ground.

Rein said detectives, who have not yet interviewed Padilla because of his injuries, will investigate to determine whether the shooting was justified.

In the eyes of the law, it would have been if Kearns had feared for his safety or that of his wife, but "defense of property is never a reason to use deadly force," he said.

Kearns declined to comment Tuesday, except to say he saw "no need" to consult an attorney.

Investigators also have not decided whether they will arrest Padilla, Rein said.

In October, a 50-year-old Simi Valley man was charged with voluntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a teenager he thought was trying to break into his automotive repair shop.

Prosecutors allege that Edward Nishida Drake fired his .44-caliber revolver once at Leonard Anthony Coppola, 17, as the youth fumbled with a padlocked gate.

Drake has pleaded not guilty and is to appear in court April 10.

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