ST. PETERSBURG – A homeowner confronted a burglar this morning, smashing the intruder across the face with the butt end of a shotgun, St. Petersburg police said.
The burglar, identified by police as Justin Masse, 22, at first fled, then turned around and started toward homeowner Michael Lowry, a U.S. Navy veteran, police said. That’s when Lowry fired a shell in the ground, and Masse ran off, police said.
A newspaper delivery person spotted Masse unconscious two blocks away in a front yard, police said. Masse received stitches and was eventually transported to the Pinellas County Jail on a charge of residential burglary, police said.
The attempted break-in occurred about 4 a.m. at Lowry’s home, in the 5000 block of Second Avenue South, police said. Lowry spotted Masse in his detached garage and confronted Masse with the 12-gauge shotgun.
During a fight that followed, Masse was struck in the face with the butt of the weapon, apparently considered continuing the struggle and then ran off before falling unconscious, police said.