FRUITLAND PARK, Fla. - All was quiet at a home on Shadow Hill Drive in Fruitland Park on Monday. A blown-out window is the only sign of what happened in the normally quiet residential road early Sunday morning.
“Deputies responded to a burglary in progress,” Sgt. Fred Jones, of the Lake County Sheriff's Office, said.
He says when deputies arrived, they discovered the situation was much more serious.
“This ex-boyfriend was trying to sneak through the window, or come through the window, at which point the homeowner used an air rifle and shot at the ex-boyfriend, and he was shot in the neck,” Sgt. Jones said.
First responders administered CPR. Investigators say Thomas Brown died at the scene.
Sgt. Jones says the homeowner who shot Brown is not answering questions and immediately referred deputies to her attorney.
The State Attorney’s Office is now investigating and will decide if officials believe the woman was acting in self-defense or if she committed a criminal act.
FOX 35 News discovered a history of domestic violence between Brown and the woman whose home he is accused of breaking into early Sunday morning.
“It paints a picture of why she would have been afraid and why she felt like she would have had to defend herself,” Sgt. Jones said.
Brown was arrested twice for domestic battery. Records show both times that the same woman filed for an injunction to keep Brown away from her and that both times the woman asked the judge to drop the injunctions weeks later.
Sgt. Jones reads through reports of all of the county's arrests made each day. He says he’s noticed an increase in reports of domestic violence since the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown began.