Local News

Wednesday, Mar 03 2010 09:51 PM

Man holds suspected burglar at gunpoint until police arrive

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    By Michael Fagans / The Californian

    Raymond Michel stands in the master bedroom of his house and points to the bathroom door that he shot through when he and his wife found John Jenaro Garner, 28, in their home on Wednesday afternoon in Bakersfield. Mr. Michel held Garner at gunpoint until police arrived to arrest the suspect.

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    By Michael Fagans / The Californian

    This is the bullet hole in the wall of the master bathroom after the projectile passed through the bathroom door after Mr. Michel fired his gun at the suspected burglar.

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BY JASON KOTOWSKI, Californian staff writer jkotowski@bakersfield.com

He's 70 years old, and his health isn't what it used to be, but Raymond Michel is not someone who should be taken lightly.

The south Bakersfield resident shot at a suspected burglar in his house Wednesday afternoon and held the man at gunpoint until police arrived. The suspect, identified by police as John Jenaro Garner, tried to get up twice, but Michel warned him to stay down.

"I told my wife to call the cops because (the burglar) was staying here one way or another," Michel said.

Bakersfield police Lt. Andrew Garner, no relation to the supsect, confirmed that Raymond Michel was the man who shot at the suspect.

Michel and his wife, Dawn, had returned home on Ivan Avenue about 1 p.m. after taking their grandson to a doctor's appointment. The 9-year-old grandson noticed a light on in a downstairs bedroom and asked his grandmother if she had left it on.

Dawn Michel said she looked in the room and noticed some items weren't where they were supposed to be. Then she and her grandson went outside and saw a garbage bag on the ground, along with a window screen that had been knocked out of a second-floor window. Jewelry and money were in the bag.

Dawn Michel told her husband someone had been in the house. Raymond Michel said he armed himself with a handgun and walked upstairs.

Items from the bedroom closet were strewn about the floor, and Raymond Michel noticed that the bathroom door was almost completely closed. He and his wife always keep that door open.

He kicked the door, and it stopped partway as it struck the intruder, Raymond Michel said. The suspect stepped from behind the door and leveled a rifle at the homeowner, he said.

Raymond Michel, who said he was holding his handgun at waist level, pulled the trigger. The bullet went through the door, shattered the upper left corner of the mirror and entered the wall.

The suspect dropped to the floor, and Raymond Michel at first thought he had hit him. But then the intruder tried to get up, Raymond Michel said.

Raymond Michel said he told him to stay down and kept the gun pointed at him. His wife called 911.

The dispatcher told Dawn Michel to get outside.

Police soon arrived and took John Garner into custody. Police said John Garner had drugs in his possession and was wanted on an outstanding misdemeanor warrant.

The rifle the suspect had armed himself with was taken from a closet in the house, Raymond Michel said.

Raymond Michel, a retired electrician, was calm as he told his story Wednesday evening, and he said he didn't seem to be nervous or scared when he confronted the intruder.

Dawn Michel, however, said she was on edge from the ordeal.

"I haven't eaten yet," she said.

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