A homeowner shot and killed an armed man who allegedly broke into his house west of Sandstone, Minn., early Thursday, the Pine County Sheriff’s Office reported.
Gypsy Watts, 23, was killed after entering the house of the 75-year-old man, whom officials have not yet named.
A juvenile who allegedly accompanied Watts inside the home fled when the homeowner got his gun, said Chief Deputy Steven Blackwell. Deputies arrested the minor, who is being held in the Pine County jail until the county attorney determines whether charges will be filed.
Two others were brought in for questioning but were released Thursday, Blackwell said. “There may be more [suspects] involved, either on the fringe of this or directly involved,” Blackwell said. “We’re still piecing that together.”
Deputies were called to the house on Fox Road at 2:30 a.m., according to the Sheriff’s Office. The homeowner told them that he was sleeping when he was awakened by two men — at least one of whom had a gun — entering his house and confronting him. The homeowner got his own gun and shot the armed suspect, who died at the scene. The second man fled. Police later found a blue minivan a few miles from the house.
Neither the homeowner nor his guest, who was sleeping upstairs, was hurt, Blackwell said.
The Sheriff’s Office will pass along evidence to the county attorney’s office to see if the shooting falls within Minnesota’s law that allows for the use of deadly force in a person’s home, Blackwell said. “We’re not finding anything that would indicate any wrongdoing on the homeowner’s part.
“We know there was several minutes of banter but we don’t know exactly what was said, but then things escalated from there,” Blackwell said. “Ninety-nine percent of the time if these people find someone in the house, they flee. But this time, the kid was armed, and who knows what their intentions were.”
It’s not clear, he said, why the rural Sandstone home was targeted.
Watts, of Sandstone, has a criminal history in Pine County and North Dakota, Blackwell said. Watts was convicted in Minnesota of carrying a pistol without a permit, among other things. In 2009, he pleaded guilty in North Dakota to robbery and burglary charges, records show.
Pine County Sheriff Robin Cole discussed the shooting Thursday on his weekly radio show on WCMP, calling it a “very, very dangerous and tragic set of events.”