• Police: Leesburg man shoots, kills alleged intruder

    Updated:

    LEESBURG, Fla. - A man found shot at an apartment complex in Leesburg early Thursday morning has died, according to Leesburg police.

    Police said Steven Mark Ricker, 41, was found with a gunshot wound outside an apartment.

    Officers responded to reports of a shooting at the Washington Street Apartments just after 4 a.m..

    Investigators said a man was knocking on doors at the complex and returned to one resident's apartment, despite having been told repeatedly to leave.

    Police said the resident, Jimmy Soto, 28, armed himself with a 9mm handgun and partially opened the door.

    According to police, Ricker tried to pull the door open and force his way inside.

    Soto said he warned the intruder one last time and asked him to leave.

    Police said Soto fired one shot, hitting Ricker in the torso. Ricker stumbled about 20 feet from the apartment and collapsed.

    Ricker was taken to Leesburg Regional Medical Center, about a block away, where he died about 90 minutes later, police said.

    Police said Soto told them that his fiancé, his young daughter and his son were in the apartment and that he feared for their safety.

    Resident Johnny Stinson said the man knocked at his door earlier.

    "He was looking for drugs when he came to my house," Stinson said. "I'm sure the (the resident) had to defend himself because the dude was trying to break in. It's scary. It happens everywhere but you don't expect it to happen that close to home."

    Other residents said they believe Soto had no choice but to open fire.

    “He was protecting his family, and he had the right to do that,” said neighbor Veronica Byrd.

    “I mean, if someone is trying to break into your place, you got to do what you got to do,” said resident Waley Harris.

    Police said no charges have been filed and that the results of the investigation will be forwarded to the State Attorney's Office.


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