A man who was shot and killed Wednesday during an apparent break-in in Merced was drunk and "entered the wrong home," Merced police said Thursday.
The man, whose name has not been released, was described by police as a large man, approximately 250 pounds in his 30s.
Merced police were called at 10:05 p.m. to an apartment at 604 W. Yosemite Ave. in Merced. Police said the resident told investigators a man had kicked in his door. Officers said the resident armed himself with a shotgun, but the suspect "continued into the residence toward the homeowner who fired a shot in self-defense."
The suspect was taken to Mercy Medical Center in Merced where he later died, officers said.
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Detective-Sgt. Curt Gorman told the Sun-Star is appears the suspect had been drinking heavily and was looking for someone else who lived nearby but he entered the wrong home.
Gorman said police do not know what the man's motives were, but said it was "clearly" suspicious that he kicked in the door.
"We know who he was looking for now, but we don't know why," Gorman said in a telephone interview. "It doesn't appear he was trying to commit a burglary, but, whatever it was, he got the wrong home."
Gorman described the incident as "very odd" and "unfortunate for everybody involved."
Police said the resident, who was not injured during the confrontation, cooperated with investigators. He told police he did not know the man who got into his home.
"The homeowner told him to get out and (the homeowner) was afraid for his own life and defended himself," Gorman said. "It's unfortunate for him because now he's got to live with what happened and having to have killed someone for the rest of his life and he was just in his own home minding his own business."
Gorman said police were not releasing the resident's name Thursday. He was described as a man in his early 20s, weighing about 140 pounds.
"He works a job and goes to school," Gorman said.
Deputy Daryl Allen, Merced County Coroner's Office spokesman, said investigators have identified the man who was shot to death through fingerprinting but had not located the man's family as of Thursday afternoon to notify them of the death.
Police said they are seeking toxicology test in the case.
The death marks the first homicide of 2018 in Merced County. A total of 20 homicides were reported in 2017 in Merced, including six cases in the city of Merced.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact Detective Chris Russell at 209-385-4707 or the Police Department's Tipster line at 209-385-7826. People also can send an anonymous text message to the department at "TIP411" (847411) and include the word "Comvip" as the keyword in the text message.