VISALIA, Calif. - Visalia Police say a homeowner shot a man after he broke into his car. It happened just before 4 A.M. Tuesday morning. Paramedics took the suspect to Kaweah Delta Hospital for non-life threatening injuries.
Police say 37-year-old Nicholas Wilkerson broke into a car before being confronted by the owner. That's when things escalated. The mother of the car owner says she's relieved her son is safe.
Broken glass remains inside and outside of this Honda Accord. The car owner's mother does not want to be identified. She says her 19-year-old son ran out into the driveway with his brother to find a man burglarizing the brand new vehicle.
"The guy, I guess turned around and pointed some kind of object at them. They thought it was a gun and at that time one of my boys dropped to the ground. The other one shot," said the mother.
Police say it was dark outside early Tuesday morning and the alarmed resident opened fire in self-defense once he saw Nicholas Wilkerson raise an object.
"The victim fired one shot at the suspect breaking into the vehicle, striking him in the lower leg area," said Sergeant Damon Maurice.
"My kids said 'don't move, you stay right there until the cops get here. Ambulance is coming to get you' because he was complaining about his leg and saying oh I was just doing this to feed my kids," said the mother.
Police say Wilkerson is in custody, being treated at Kaweah Delta. The mother of the shooter says her loved ones have been victimized by several car burglars in this neighborhood for more than a decade. She says it's frustrating and she stands by her son's decision to protect the family.
"He made the right decision and it was his life in danger and my other son's life in danger," said the mother.
The Violent Crimes Unit is investigating the case. Anyone with information is asked to call 559-713-4156.