PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Whitehall Township police officer is recovering from a gunshot wound after he was shot while out on a call, but police say he was shot by the man who called 911.
While responding to a possible burglary in progress around 2:30 a.m. an officer in Whitehall Pennsylvania was shot.
“It was like a war zone, said Susan Munday of Whitehall. “Every kind of trooper, every kind of police officer, state police officer they all had their rifles out shotguns they were running through.”
“The neighborhood is very quiet, this is quite a shock,” said Dennis Harbowy.
The most shocking part of this shooting may be that the officer wasn’t shot by a burglar, but by the homeowner who called in the suspected burglary.
“It appears that he mistook for the officer for burglars that he anticipates encountering, ” said D.A. James B. Martin of Lehigh County.
Police believe the homeowner had dealt with someone stealing copper from his property in the past. So last night he decided to hide in a 2nd floor closet in the home with a shotgun hoping to catch burglars in the act.
When he thought he heard footsteps and burglars breaking in, he called 911.
“Prior to him leaving the second floor, prior to him shooting down in the basement,” said Martin. “Lehigh County radio alerted him at least 4 times police were on scene.”
Whitehall police say they announced themselves when entering through a basement door of the home. Still, somehow, the homeowner shot at officers.
“He used deadly force in an effort to protect property,” Martin said. “Which you can’t do.”
Whitehall police say the officer shot is going to be okay. He was shot in the leg. He is still in the hospital tonight but in stable condition.
As for the homeowner the Martin says he is being charged with several counts of assault including assaulting an officer.