LAWRENCEVILLE - It was a bad day to be a burglar, one detective remarked Tuesday after a 17-year-old was shot by a Lawrenceville resident who stumbled upon a break-in at his house.
The homeowner, 27-year-old Ronald Ramsey, of Lawrenceville, could face criminal charges since he apparently fired upon the suspect as he tried to flee. Investigators are investigating whether the shooting rises to the level of self-defense, said Cpl. Darren Moloney, spokesman for Gwinnett County Police Department. Ramsey did have a permit to carry a gun and he is being cooperative, Moloney said.
"Georgia law is clear you can't shoot people to protect your property especially if the person is running away," Moloney said. "If you're home alone and someone is entering your residence in a violent and tumultuous manner, then yes, you're allowed to protect yourself."
Authorities said Ramsey surprised the alleged burglar when Ramsey returned to his house at 633 Oakland Walk Court shortly before noon. The man, later identified as Alrazi Basher of Duluth, tried to flee in a stolen Ford Expedition that he apparently drove to the house, but Ramsey pursued him outside, according to police.
Ramsey reportedly fired several gunshots at the SUV as it sped away, injuring Basher, shattering the rear windshield and leaving a pock-mark in the driver's side door. Investigators did not immediately state where Basher had been shot or how many times.
While making his escape, Basher smashed into a speed limit sign which cracked the passenger side of his windshield and remained wedged there under a windshield wiper, said Moloney. Basher then drove a short distance to a friends' town house at 2621 Waverly Hills Drive off Herrington Road.
Residents of the town house called 911 after opening the front door to find the wounded teenager on their doorstep. Basher was then transported to Gwinnett Medical Center. At press time, he was undergoing surgery and was listed in serious condition, Moloney said.
Basher is charged with one count of burglary and one count of theft by receiving a motor vehicle.
There was little sympathy for Basher Tuesday in the neighborhood where he was arrested.
"This kind of foolishness, I don't like it at all," said Arthur Jackson, 37, who lives with his mother across the street from the town house where Basher sought refuge. "You shouldn't be stealing from anybody. I don't condone violence, but there are exceptions to the rule sometimes."
His mother, Tangerene Jackson, agreed.
"Was it really worth it to his life?" she questioned. "The bottom line to all this is crime doesn't pay."