A 79-year-old Army veteran and gun shop owner near Houston opened fire on burglars, hitting one who was found dead on a roadside about 10 miles away, authorities said.
Raymond Balcerowicz, who lives on the same property where he runs both Central Guns and Central Barber Shop in Crosby, Texas, was jarred awake when burglars used a chain and their car to rip the gun shop door off at about 4:30 a.m., officials said.
"As soon as he heard the commotion, most likely from the door being pulled, is when he came out, so he encountered them pretty quickly," Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez told reporters.
The suspects opened fire before Balcerowicz took cover behind a tree and returned shots, hitting one of the burglars, officials said.
"A lot of shots were fired. He's very lucky he's alive," Gonzalez said.
The suspects fled and several minutes later, a wounded man — later identified was one of the burglars — was found sitting outside a car in Baytown, about 10 miles away, officials said.
CPR was performed on the man before he was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Gonzalez.
"A couple pistols, believed to be taken during the burglary are recovered near the deceased male," Gonzalez tweeted.
Two other men were arrested at that second scene and the "vehicle they were in appears the be one of the vehicles used in the commission of the burglary," according to the sheriff.
It was the second burglary at the gun store since November, according to Balcerowicz's friend Bill Newcomb.
"What else you going to do, they keep coming back and breaking in," Newcomb told NBC affiliate KPRC.