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Source: MedleyStory

Emergency personnel rescue residents after fire at assisted living center

Sheriff deputies and Taylorsville police officers rushed to A New Outlook of Taylorsville early Wednesday morning after hearing the fire alarm call. 
Police said they pulled several residents out windows.
"I looked at the guys and said the smoke isn't getting any thinner. We got to go. We got to get people out,” said Officer Tyler Land with the Taylorsville Police Department.
"You probably couldn't see your hand in front of your face,” said Deputy Heath Pennell with the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office. “The smoke was so bad in the hallway. You had to crawl or you couldn't breathe."
Deputies said one of the caregivers left before the fire to go to the store.  The other ran off when police arrived because of an outstanding warrant against him for failing to show up in court.
Channel 9 spoke with residents at the assisted living center who say they did see Brandon Parsons help a few residents get out but also said he ran away when police arrived with people still inside.
Deputies said he was hiding nearby as they worked to get people out.
The fire marshal has met with the Department of Social Services and said state investigators are involved.
"I think the individual abandoned his responsibility. He neglected these folks. I see a major neglect of these residents by this caregiver,” said Emergency Services Director Russell Greene.
Residents have been moved back into the home Wednesday night. The damage was contained to one room. Investigators believe the fire was intentionally set by one of the 26 residents.
The officers who went inside said they are not heroes but do believe changes need to be made at the facility.
"If somebody hadn't gotten there quick enough they probably would have died from smoke inhalation,” said Deputy Aaron Millsaps with Alexander County Sheriff’s Office.

CLICK HERE for more information about the assisted living center.

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Published: Wed, 17 Dec 2014 15:53:38 -0500

Layaway angel hands out $100 to 6 women at Gastonia Walmart

Shoppers at a Gastonia Walmart were overwhelmed when a complete stranger walked into the store and handed them a $100 bill.

Six women were standing at the layaway counter when the good Samaritan handed them each $100 and walked out of the store without saying anything.

One of the women, Bonnie Tanner, who is a single mother of two children, told Channel 9 she was completely overwhelmed by the good deed.

Channel 9 reporter Ken Lemon said four of the six women were single mothers and one of them is a grandmother.

The grandmother was at the store to cancel her layaway items because she was taking care of her grandchild over the holidays and needed to money for diapers.

Tanner said the grandmother fell to her knees and cried when the man handed her the money.

She said the man did not say anything to the women and quickly left the store. One of the women went looking for him, but he was gone.

Tanner said her 11-year-old son is so inspired by what happened, he wants to break the $100 into smaller bills so he can give it away like this man did for his mother.


Published: Wed, 17 Dec 2014 14:20:26 -0500

Layaway angel hands out $100 to 6 women at Walmart

Shoppers at a Walmart in North Carolina were overwhelmed when a complete stranger walked into the store and handed them a $100 bill.

Six women were standing at the layaway counter when the good Samaritan handed them each $100 and walked out of the store without saying anything.

One of the women, Bonnie Tanner, who is a single mother of two children, told WSOC-TV she was completely overwhelmed by the good deed.

WSOC-TV reporter Ken Lemon said four of the six women were single mothers and one of them is a grandmother.

The grandmother was at the store to cancel her layaway items because she was taking care of her grandchild over the holidays and needed to money for diapers.

Tanner said the grandmother fell to her knees and cried when the man handed her the money.

She said the man did not say anything to the women and quickly left the store. One of the women went looking for him, but he was gone.

Tanner said her 11-year-old son is so inspired by what happened, he wants to break the $100 into smaller bills so he can give it away like this man did for his mother.

Published: Wed, 17 Dec 2014 14:20:26 -0500

This gesture made this man believe in Christmas miracles

When Damien Walker lost his wallet last week, he thought he would be in for a terrible Christmas.

But after checking his mailbox on Tuesday, the Lauceston, Tasmania man was relieved to discover that a kindhearted stranger who went by “Santa Claus” had express-mailed his wallet to him.

“We hope you have a lovely Xmas. Love Santa and family,” read the message inside.

The gesture has made Walker believe in the magic of the Christmas season.

“It was completely anonymous and altruistic,” Walker told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“I’m glad to know that it’s right to still have faith in humanity,” he added.

Published: Wed, 17 Dec 2014 13:46:33 -0500

Man fakes heart attack as friend steals toys from Walmart, deputies say

A man faked a heart attack so his friend could steal toys from a Florida Walmart, deputies said Wednesday.

According to a Polk County Sherrif's arrest report, Tarus Scott, 30, and Genard Dupree, 27, both of Lake Wales, filled a shopping cart at the Walmart with expensive toys, including a motorized power wheel Barbie car, a Leap Frog tablet and a Barbie Glam vacation house, with a total value of $369. 

The two men are seen on surveillance video walking through the store together. Video shows Dupree lying down on the ground, clutching his chest near the entrance of the store.

As concerned citizens check on Dupree, Scott is seen walking out of the store with the cart full of toys, deputies said.

Once Scott leaves the store, Dupree stands up and walks out, deputies said.

The pair left in a silver SUV, authorities said. 

The two were later found and arrested on charges of charged grand theft.

Published: Wed, 17 Dec 2014 12:54:35 -0500

Meck Co. leaders want state to help property owners after botched appraisals

Mecklenburg County leaders want state lawmakers to help thousands of property owners avoid paying higher tax bills on property that they didn't own.
They are trying to correct botched property appraisals for the past three years.

Read our past coverage:

Brian Fidazzo is one of the thousands of property owners in Mecklenburg County caught in what theyofficials call an unfair situation.
He got bills in the mail saying that he owed the county $700 in back taxes from 2011 to 2013 on a home that he didn't own until October of last year2013.
County Manager Dena Diorio said thisit was part of the law that corrected botched property appraisals dating back to 2011.
It statedsaid the current property owner would be stuck with paying the difference if the property was undervalued, whether they owned it then or not.
County leaders are trying to shift the burden.
“We want to make sure that they only have to pay bills for the time that they were there,” Diorio said.
She said the previous property owner would get the higher bill.
Because of how the law works, there's nothing that forces thema property owner to pay, because the lien goes with the property.
“We will do what we can to collect it, and if we can't collect it, then we can't collect it,” Diorio said.
If lawmakers approve the measure, property owners like Fidazzo will get a refund with interest for the bill that he said he never should have gotten in the first place.


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Published: Wed, 17 Dec 2014 11:40:04 -0500

Alan Gross freed after 5 years imprisoned in Cuba

After five years behind bars in Cuba, American Alan Gross is finally free. 

Cuban authorities released Gross as part of a prisoner exchange with the U.S., which handed over three Cuban agents convicted of espionage in the early 2000s. 

CNN's Patrick Oppmann said, "Sen. Jeff Flake said progress, in Gross' case, is being made."

There had been speculation over the past month or so that Gross could be freed, aided in part by a visit two senators made to Gross last month. 

Still, as recently as last week, when Univision's Jorge Ramos asked President Barack Obama if there was going to be a prisoner swap for Gross, the president said they were working to free him but: "Beyond that I don't have any announcements."

Cuban authorities first detained Gross back in 2009, alleging he was part of an American government effort to stir up unrest in Cuba through his work as a subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development. (Video via Voice of America)

That body maintains its development of the Twitter-like website, ZunZuneo, which was the focus of the allegations, was only to connect Cubans to the outside world. 

Still, the United States' inability to free Gross sparked anger, especially with Gross himself, who took action by going on a hunger strike and refusing medical attention. 

In a letter last year, Gross said: "I still want to believe that my government values my life and service, I refuse to accept that my country would leave me behind."

And Gross' health could have played a role in getting him released. His wife, Judy, told CCTV in October: "His health is getting worse by the day, he's much weaker, he can't exercise anymore due to his terrible arthritis in his hips."

ABC, which broke the news of Gross' release, says from here, Obama will look to renew talks with Cuba and eventually might even try to lift the trade embargo the U.S. placed on the country in the '60s. 

Published: Wed, 17 Dec 2014 11:40:00 -0500

City leaders meet developers about amateur sports complex

City leaders are meeting with the developers working on a plan to turn Bojangles Coliseum into an amateur sports complex.

A decision could be made Wednesday on whether the project moves forward.

IMAGES: Inside look at Bojangles Coliseum

The meeting was supposed to happen months ago, but the developer -- Florida-based Good Sports -- has had problems locking in financing for the $76.7 million project.

The fact that Good Sports was coming to Wednesday’s meeting wasn't confirmed until last week.

City council approved spending $16 million on Bojangles Coliseum for the project and toward renovations to prepare the coliseum for the Charlotte Checkers hockey team to move in next year.

5 things to know about Checkers move to Bojangles Coliseum

The city is footing the bill for most of this project with a commitment to spend $37 million of hospitality taxes.

It leaves Good Sports with the responsibility of paying $39.7 million.

Channel 9 learned the company hasn't ever built an amateur sports complex because it can't get financing.

READ MORE: Bojangles Coliseum redevelopment plan on shaky ground

Good Sports has had problems completing similar projects in other parts of the country.

One city manager of a town in Ohio where a project failed said he believes that's because the financing market is waiting for proof a project like this will work.

Channel 9 reporter Jenna Deery will be inside the meeting to hear what is discussed on the major project and what it would mean to revitalizing east Charlotte. See her full report on Eyewitness News at 5 p.m.

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Published: Wed, 17 Dec 2014 11:17:19 -0500

Los Angeles police to receive 7,000 body cameras

Whether or not police should be required to wear body cameras has been a hotly debated question recently, highlighted by the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson earlier this year.

During an NBC interview, the Brown family's attorney Benjamin Crump said: "Let's make a difference. Let's pass the proposal for the Mike Brown law with video body cameras for all police officers in every American city."

Now the city of Los Angeles plans to buy 7,000 of them — or one for the majority of its police officers. 

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the move at a press conference Tuesday night. "Cameras are not a panacea, but they are a critical part of the formula," he said. 

According to the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Police Department ran a pilot program with the cameras earlier this year. Starting Jan. 1, the department will equip 800 of its officers with cameras. More cameras and funding for them are expected to come in throughout the year. 

While equipping police officers with body cameras is nothing new, the decision by the U.S.' second-largest city to equip the bulk of its police force with body cameras is by far one of the biggest implementations of the idea.

According to 2013 statistics from the FBI, the LAPD is the third-largest police department in the U.S., consisting of around 10,000 police officers.

The New York City Police Department, the largest in the nation with more than 35,000 officers, recently started testing its own body-camera program in December by equipping a handful of its officers with the devices.

So why the push for body cameras? Not only do they serve as another layer of transparency, but one police department also found they reduce citizen complaints and use of force by police.

A yearlong study with California's Rialto Police Department in 2012 found a 60 percent decline in incidents where its officers used force. There was also an 88 percent decline in complaints against the police. (Video via KTTV)

There are still concerns, however. As Peter Bibring of the American Civil Liberties Union told KCAL, the cameras will only work as long as the police turn them on for every interaction.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti says he plans to ask for $10 million in the city's upcoming budget to purchase the body cameras for the LAPD.

This video includes images from Getty Images.


Published: Wed, 17 Dec 2014 11:12:28 -0500

Steve's Coats for Kids helps local family in need

This is the time of year Channel 9 asks you to go through your coat closet and pull out the ones you don't wear anymore.
WSOC-TV needs them for our annual collection of Steve's Coats for Kids.    

In just a few weeks, chief meteorologist Steve Udelson will kick off the collection and as Steve shows you, local families really need your help.

Eric Little doesn't take it for granted that he has food for his kids.

To say things are tough right now for him and his family would be putting it mildly.

“It's been difficult as far as trying to keep a roof over our heads and pay bills,” said wife Jeneya Little.

Eric is slowly going blind, from two different eye diseases. He can no longer work, so he and Jeneya and their kids get by the best they can.

With money so tight, new winter coats were going to be out of the question.

That is, until Channel 9’s partners at Crisis Assistance Ministry heard about the family's situation.

With the nonprofit organization's help, Channel 9 was able to surprise Eric and his kids with warm coats for the two youngest and for the three older siblings, who were in school during Channel 9’s visit.

“They have everything that they need and I just want to thank you all,” Eric said.    

It's one less thing to worry about for a dad who lately has done more than his share of worrying. And for Eric it's a reminder to never give up hope.

“I can see the sunshine. They always say there's light at the end of that tunnel and I believe it. Honestly, I believed it before, but I believe it now more so,” Eric said.

“You're living it," Steve said.

“Yes, true witness," Eric said.

Steve and the entire Channel 9 team will soon kick off our 11th annual collection of Steve's Coats for Kids.

Once again this year, Crisis Assistance Ministry is partners and will be distributing the coats to local families in need.

For more information on Steve’s Coats For Kids, click here.

Published: Wed, 17 Dec 2014 11:10:01 -0500

When you lose weight, this is where the fat goes

In what seems too good to be true, a new study says the key to losing weight is something you already do every day. In fact, you're doing it right now.

All it takes is a little of this inhale, exhale action. Researchers at the University of New South Wales in Australia say breathing is how you can shed those extra pounds. (Video via Animated Biomedical

They set out to answer the question, when you lose weight, where does it go? (Video via YouTube / davidlloydleisure

You see, scientists have known for some time that the excess carbs and proteins you consume are converted into a fat called triglycerides. It's a mix of three kinds of atoms — carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.

What they didn't know is what happens to that fat when it's burned off during activity. The common assumption was that it converts to heat or energy. But these researchers say that's not the case. (Video via BiProUSA

Instead, 84 percent of that fat turns into carbon dioxide and escapes the body through the lungs. The other 16 percent turns into water that leaves the body through urine, sweat, tears and other bodily fluids. 

But don't cancel that gym membership just yet — the more you exercise, the more carbon dioxide you'll lose. 

In case you weren't convinced, the study found a 154-pound person who is just sitting around exhales about 8.9 mg of carbon with every breath. But if that same person is exercising, he or she can lose an extra 40 g of carbon from the body. 

So really, this study only confirms what we already knew. If you want to lose weight, eat less, move more. As the authors of the study put it: "None of this biochemistry is new, but for unknown reasons it seems nobody has thought of performing these calculations before."

The researchers are clear on one thing: Simply breathing really fast will only cause you to hyperventilate. For more on what not to do, check out the Christmas edition of the British Medical Journal.

This video includes images from Patrick J. Lynch / CC BY 2.5U.S. Air Force and Iain Watson / CC BY 2.0.


Published: Wed, 17 Dec 2014 11:09:43 -0500

Parents say school took away blind child’s cane, replaced it with pool noodle

The parents of a blind 8-year-old boy are outraged after they say a school bus driver took their son’s cane away from him and gave him a pool noodle to use instead.

School officials admit they confiscated the cane, which is school property, from student Dakota Nafzinger so that he would not injure himself or others on the bus. School officials say they acted after reports surfaced that Nafzinger hit another student with the cane while riding the bus.

But the parents are convinced the incident was a misunderstanding and that their son is being humiliated as a form of punishment.

Born without eyes, the boy says it is much harder to get around using the pool noodle.

After seeing the child’s story on the news, WDAF says a local resident has inquired about purchasing a cane for the child, so he doesn’t have to rely on school property anymore.

Published: Wed, 17 Dec 2014 11:03:47 -0500

Salvation Army kicks off holiday toy distribution

The Salvation Army and its Christmas Bureau partners unwrapped a world of hope for more than 6,400 needy families with a special ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday morning in south Charlotte.

The ribbon was cut at 8 a.m. at the Salvation Army Christmas Center. It is estimated that 200 families an hour (50 families every 15 minutes for four and a half days) will come through the Christmas Center, and they will be greeted by volunteers and employees along with the sound of Christmas carols.

IMAGES: Salvation Army kicks off holiday toy distribution

More than 300 volunteers will be on hand each day to help make the Christmas magic happen.

“This is so much greater than the Salvation Army; Christmas brings our entire community together,” said Major Bobby Lancaster, area commander of The Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte. “Every donated toy brings an unimaginable joy to children and their families across the area. We are blessed to be part of a community that is willing to share that kind of joy with others.”

The Christmas Bureau began in 1979 with the goal of bringing a “Merry Christmas to all.” The collaboration evolved to become the city’s central location for receiving assistance as well as offering volunteer and donor opportunities.

Roughly 125-150 volunteers work each 4-hour shift at the Christmas Center and the event helps more than 12,000 local children and about 1,200 senior citizens.

For information, please visit here.

Published: Wed, 17 Dec 2014 08:52:38 -0500

Report: Sony emails show U.S. officials blessed Kim Jong-Un killing in 'The Interview'

According to multiple media reports Wednesday, emails indicate the Sony CEO showed a rough cut of “The Interview” to U.S. government officials before moving ahead with the movie’s release.

The Daily Beast and Reuters claim to have seen several emails that reveal two U.S. officials in June screened and OK’d the movie in which North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is assassinated. Sony was the victim of a massive computer system hack and the hackers have been releasing sensitive emails on the Internet.

>> Read more trending stories

The fallout from the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack that began four weeks ago exploded Tuesday after the shadowy group calling themselves Guardians of Peace escalated their attack beyond corporate espionage and threatened moviegoers with violence reminiscent of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

According to the Daily Beast, the claim that the State Department played a role in the decision to include the film’s death scene is likely to further upset Pyongyang. The Daily Beast is reporting it has seen emails between Sony CEO Michael Lynton and a security consultant that appear to suggest the U.S. government saw "The Interview" as a useful propaganda tool against the North Korean regime.

Speculation about a North Korean link to the Sony hacking has centered on that country's angry denunciation of the film. Over the summer, North Korea warned that the film's release would be an "act of war that we will never tolerate." It said the U.S. will face "merciless" retaliation.

The Department of Homeland Security has said that there is no credible intelligence to indicate a threat, but is still investigating the message.

Read the full Daily Beast story

Published: Wed, 17 Dec 2014 08:23:39 -0500

North Charlotte street reopened after structure fire

Firefighters had a busy north Charlotte road briefly closed while they fought to put out flames at a building early Wednesday morning.

Fire crews responded to the fire on Statesville Avenue around 8 a.m. and had to close the inbound lane between Northerly and Jeff Adams streets.

There was no word of any injuries and investigators have not said what caused the fire.

Check back with for updates on this story.

Published: Wed, 17 Dec 2014 08:11:26 -0500

CMPD: Domestic incident left 1 shot in northwest Charlotte

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police were investigating an overnight shooting in northwest Charlotte.

Paramedics told Channel 9 they took one person to the hospital from June Furr Road near Auten Road shortly after midnight.

Officers said the shooting was a domestic incident and they haven't charged anyone.

Published: Wed, 17 Dec 2014 06:25:00 -0500

Norman Bridwell, creator of 'Clifford the Big Red Dog' books, dies at 86

Norman Bridwell, best known as the creator of the children's book series "Clifford the Big Red Dog," has died. He was 86.

According to his publisher, Scholastic, Bridwell died Friday at his home in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. The cause of death was not released.

Scholastic first published Bridwell's extensive "Clifford" series more than 50 years ago. Since then, it's reportedly sold more than 129 million copies in 13 different languages.

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Scholastic's CEO released a statement saying, "Norman Bridwell's books about Clifford, childhood's most loveable dog, could only have been written by a gentle man with a great sense of humor."

Bridwell also was quite tenacious to get the book originally published. "Clifford" was rejected by nine publishers before Scholastic finally gave it the green light.

The gigantic friendly canine even wound up in a PBS cartoon using the same name.

"Clifford" also made his debut on the big screen in 2004, and there's another movie in the works that's due out in 2016.

Bridwell completed two more "Clifford" books before he died: "Clifford Goes to Kindergarten" and "Clifford Celebrates Hanukkah." Both are due out next year.

Norman Bridwell said, "I feel very fortunate in this part in teaching children to read. Something I didn't plan but it's worked out that way."

This video includes images from Flickr.

Published: Wed, 17 Dec 2014 06:14:02 -0500

Tech companies make holiday shopping easier than ever

Let's face it: The holidays are only getting closer. But if you don't want to resort to measures like these to finish off your shopping list ...

"One of my most proven shopping methods is reverse psychology … or is it?" a Black Friday shopper in a Target commercial says.

… new features from several major tech companies might have you covered.

First off, if you're looking for something a little more one-of-a-kind, Amazon's new "Make an Offer" feature might be the way to go. (Video via WXFT)

>> Read more trending stories

Rolled out Tuesday, the new feature allows shoppers to make a counteroffer — basically haggle — with a seller for a lower price.

Currently, the option is only available on about 150,000 sports and entertainment collectibles, coins and fine art items — and the seller has three days to accept or reject a bid.

Hmm. "Make an Offer." Why does that sound familiar?  

2014 Holiday Guide | Complete guide to things to do in Atlanta in this year’s Holiday Guide

Next up, if you've ditched the wallet for Apple Pay, you now have a few more places to pay with your smartphone.  

Banks like SunTrust and Commerce Bank, Staples, and even the Amway Center — where the Orlando Magic play — will accept Apple Pay at concession stands.

According to The New York Times, the service now backs the cards that make up about 90 percent of credit card purchases in the U.S.

If you've managed to cross every name off your list and you just want to sit down for a meal with friends, Google can now help you avoid the dreaded splitting of the bill.

With the iOS version of the app, users can divide their check as many ways as needed among dinner company who happen to be in their contacts.

2014 Holiday Guide | Shopping: Biggest holiday toy crazes of all time

According to Engadget, those guests can still decline their portion of the bill, though, so be sure you don't get stuck with it.

Finally, if after all of that you're still struggling to get that last-minute item, Amazon has one more way to help you out. (Video via ABC)

As USA Today points out, the online retail giant has extended its free shipping deadline for Christmas Eve delivery to 11:59 p.m. Eastern Dec. 19. "Procrastinators rejoice," indeed.

More Holiday Guide info:

Published: Wed, 17 Dec 2014 05:44:15 -0500

WATCH: Magician wows police officers with trick to get out of ticket

Abracadabra! Make this speeding ticket ... disappear! That's pretty much how it went for Steven Brundage when he was pulled over recently in Scotia, New York, for driving 42 mph in a 30 mph zone.

He wowed officers with a cool Rubik's cube trick. "The cheating happens when you toss it in the air like that," Brundage tells the officers. "How did you do that?" an officer identified as Officer Brady asks. "I got so good at cheating. ... One-handed, behind the back. When I catch it again, take a look. That's one second right there," Brundage says.

He got off scot-free. Dang, we all need to learn a little magic.

>> Read more trending stories

Brundage is based in New York and keeps active on his Facebook page, where it says he has been performing for about a decade.

His website says he's an award-winning magician, and from the looks of it, he is actively booking clients.

He has worked his magic again, making it to national television.

He asked ABC host Michael Strahan to pick a card. 

"Six of diamonds," Strahan says.

"I'm going to tear it right off the card ... get that corner to completely disappear from here, and it's going to go inside the Rubik's Cube. ... I'm going to take off a little piece. ... Is that the six of diamonds?" Brundage asks after pulling the card's corner out of the Rubik's Cube. 

"How did you do that?" anchor Amy Robach asks. 

We can't tell you how he does his magic ... and we know he won't. You've heard the saying: A true magician never reveals his secrets.

Watch the full video here.

Published: Wed, 17 Dec 2014 03:30:17 -0500

14-year-old reportedly shoots, kills intruder to protect sick grandmother

UPDATE: Police in Charlotte, North Carolina, said the second man involved in a home break-in that turned deadly near the Charlotte/Mint Hill border has been arrested. Another suspected intruder was killed when a 14-year-old inside the house shot and killed him Tuesday night, police said.

This is a breaking news update. The previous story appears below:

Police say one intruder is dead after a reported home break-in Tuesday near the border of Charlotte and Mint Hill in North Carolina.

Two intruders attempted to break into the home, according to police. The second intruder fled the scene.

Police said a woman was in the home with her 14-year-old grandson at the time. According to police, the teen shot and killed the intruder.

>> Read more trending stories

"It’s not something you can be proud of. But I’m happy the way it turned out because my wife is getting over an illness," said the boy's grandfather, George Wyant. "What would have happened if he wasn’t there? That’s all I can tell you. What would have happened?"

Wyant said he heard about the break-in and shooting from a neighbor. Many neighbors are shocked.

"I hope they do catch the person that ran away,” neighbor Steve Repak said.

The call came in at 5:14 p.m. The intruder was pronounced dead at the scene.

Visit for updates.

Published: Wed, 17 Dec 2014 02:59:08 -0500