NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A New Orleans East man says he shot at three intruders in his home after they broke in with his daughter alone inside.
A bloody towel marks the spot where 18-year-old Imani Smith collapsed Wednesday afternoon after being shot in the thigh by a homeowner minutes earlier.
Neighbor Pernell Williams recalls, "I was sleeping in my bed and I heard two shots went off and what happened, I got up and this young man was laying on the ground."
Police say Smith hopped a fence and ended up on Dorian Street after he and two others broke into a home in the 6700 block of Foch Road.
"According to the homeowner and his daughter, at least three suspects entered the home while the daughter was inside. She hid in the home and called her father. Her father came home," NOPD spokesman Tyler Gamble said.
"The gentleman told me, he said the fella' was in his house, trying to hide in his closet and this wasn't the first time this happened, this was the second time," Williams explained.
The homeowner chased the three into the backyard, then police say he opened fire when he thought one of the men was reaching for a gun. Investigators later found items taken from the home in Imani Smith's possession. They also arrested a 15-year-old on the scene, who they say was involved in a previous aggravated assault with the victim and may be tied to Wednesday's break-in.
"We need to do something with the young people around here. We need to get them more active where they won't be out here with this craziness," neighbor Damond Williams said.
Nearby residents say they're sick of hearing about break-ins and senseless violent crime but stress they fully support the homeowner. "You have to protect your house, if you don't protect your house, what are you gonna do?" Pernell Williams said.
They just fear they'll witness more cases of people taking matters into their own hands, if the crime level in New Orleans, doesn't improve.
Police say the homeowner isn't facing charges at this time. His daughter wasn't injured in the incident.