FLASH FLOOD WARNING FOR SOUTHEASTERN SAN DIEGO COUNTY

Elderly homeowner shoots car burglary suspect

BOULEVARD, Calif. –  An 85-year-old East County man opened fire on a suspected car burglar at his rural home early Wednesday, after which the wounded intruder allegedly continued attempting to steal vehicles and burned down an auxiliary residence on the property before being arrested.

The non-fatal gunfire and structure fire in the 3400 block of Crestwood Road in Boulevard were reported shortly after 4 a.m.

Deputies arrived to find the suspect, 29-year-old Anthony Saldana, address unknown, suffering from a bullet wound to his right arm, sheriff’s Sgt. Carlos Medina said. They arrested him without incident, and medics took him to a hospital.

The property owner told investigators he had spotted Saldana in his yard, seemingly trying to steal his car, and went outside and told the trespasser to get off his property.

“The suspect started yelling and rushed at the property owner, who retreated inside his house,” Medina said. “The property owner armed himself with a handgun but remained inside the house while the suspect continued to move about the property, yelling and acting in an emotionally disturbed manner.”

Fearing for his and his wife’s safety, the resident fired four shots in the direction of Saldana in an attempt to scare him off, the sergeant said.

Though wounded, the suspect remained on the property prior to the arrival of deputies, allegedly breaking into vehicles, entering an unoccupied prefabricated home, removing items from inside it and setting fire to it. The blaze destroyed the structure.

The property owner and his wife suffered no injuries but were “shook up a bit” by the violent encounter, the sergeant said.

The husband was not detained for the shooting.

“It appears he was defending his property, his home and his wife, and himself,” Medina said.

Saldana was expected to face charges of arson, burglary and attempted auto theft upon his release from medical care.