Army Veteran, 80, Kills Would-Be Burglar

Son says city's gun ban an "open door" for criminals

By Natalie Martinez and BJ Lutz
|  Thursday, May 27, 2010  |  Updated 3:23 AM CDT
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Elderly Army vet shoots, kills former convict trying to break into his home.

Elderly Army vet shoots, kills former convict trying to break into his home.

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The son of an elderly Army veteran who shot and killed a would-be burglar early Wednesday morning says the situation exemplifies why Chicago's law banning guns is flawed.

"That's an open door for people like this suspect to enter people's homes, especially [the] elderly. They can prey on them," said Butch Gant.

Earlier Wednesday, Gant's father, an 80-year-old Korean War veteran, who has not been identified by police, heard sometime trying to break into his East Garfield Park home through a window.

"He hit first floor window," Gant said. "He hit once, then hit it again. Daddy got full view of him and fired. He had the gun by his bedside."

The first shot missed the intruder, but the homeowner shot again and connected, killing Anthony Nelson, a former convict.

Gant's father said he was protecting his 83-year-old wife and their 12-year-old great-grandson, who was asleep in the house.  It was the second time in six months someone had tried to break into the home.

Nelson had a criminal record dating back to 1998 that included numerous drug and weapons convictions. He lived about a mile away.

Police questioned the homeowner at the station but escorted him home around noon. No charges will be filed.

Friends and neighbors have pledged support for the octogenarian.

"In my house I would do same thing," said 75-year-old neighbor Audrey Williams.

His family is hailing him as a hero.

"He protected his family and that accounts more than anything," Gant said. "He saved all our lives, the whole family."

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