Homeowner Fatally Shoots 14-Year-Old Burglary Suspect

Middle-schooler allegedly broke into home with two other teens

By Randy McIlwain
|  Tuesday, Apr 10, 2012  |  Updated 8:06 AM CDT
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Dallas police say a 14-year-old boy was shot and killed by a homeowner when he tried to burglarize a home with two other teenagers.

Ellen Goldberg, NBC 5 News

Dallas police say a 14-year-old boy was shot and killed by a homeowner when he tried to burglarize a home with two other teenagers.

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Teen Killed in Deadly Home Invasion Shooting

Police say a 14-year-old boy was shot and killed by a Dallas homeowner. Police said the boy and two other juveniles were breaking into a home on Vallejo Drive.
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An eastside homeowner shot and killed a 14-year-old intruder at his home Monday morning, Dallas police said.

Investigators said three teenage boys, one aged 13 and two aged 14, tried to burglarize a home in the 7300 block of Vallejo Drive. Police said the teenagers reportedly rang the front doorbell of the home and went around to the back when no one answered.

Detectives said the homeowner, Lee Cobler, and his adult son both ignored the doorbell. Cobler armed himself when they heard the back door being kicked, and someone in the home called 911, investigators said.

Neighbors said Cobler, who is active in the community's crime watch program, warned the teenagers he was armed before firing the fatal shot.

"I feel really bad, because I know he (Cobler) is hurting," said Kevin Purdy, a neighbor. "My visceral gut feeling is that he is not doing real good right now.'

"He's a very kind and generous and fine person, so I really feel for him and his family," said Shirley Stark, president of the Piedmont-Sceyene Neighborhood Association.

Police said 14-year-old Luis Avila, a student at Hood Middle school, was killed.

"He was a good kid," said Jeremy Dunn, a classmate. "He was funny; a good kid to hang around. But sometimes he hung around with the wrong crowd and [did] the wrong thing."

The Dallas Independent School District sent a letter home to parents explaining what happened and informing them that grief counselors would be on hand to help students.

The 13-year-old and 14-year-old who were allegedly with Avila both ran from the scene but were arrested.

Cobler does not face any charges in the shooting. Police said the incident would be presented to a grand jury for their consideration.

NBC 5's Ellen Goldberg contributed to this report.

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