By Ed Runyan
Police say they believe the man living at 1539 Niles-Cortland Road was reacting to a burglary in progress when he fired one shot through his front door early Friday, killing Terry D. Allen, 36, of Morris Street in Mineral Ridge.
The man who fired the shot, who is not being identified, told police he saw two people outside the house and heard several voices before firing at 12:30 a.m. The home is just south of Youngstown Road near the Royal Mall apartments.
Det. Jim Robbins of the Niles Police Department said police found that the side door to the residence had been broken open, and they found evidence that someone had started to break into the front door.
Police found Allen dead of a single gunshot wound to the torso just outside the front door, Robbins said, adding that the investigation is still in the early stages and will continue today.
“We believe it was a burglary in progress, but we’re not locked into that,” Robbins said.
The shooter is a male about the same age as Allen and rents the home, Robbins said. The man lives with another person who wasn’t home at the time.
The autopsy report from Dr. Humphrey Germaniuk, Trumbull County coroner, will help determine whether the shooter was justified in his actions, but the damage [to the doors] at the house is “consistent to what the renter said,” Robbins said late Friday afternoon.
Part of the ongoing investigation will be to determine whether there were others involved, Robbins said. The neighborhood has had break-ins in recent months, Robbins said.
Allen’s record through Niles Municipal Court includes a number of traffic violations and one charge of misdemeanor falsification from August 2011. He pleaded no contest and was convicted.
If Allen’s death turns out to be a homicide resulting from a failed burglary, it will be the second time Niles has had one in recent years.
On April 16, 2011, Niles police shot and killed Daryl A. Boggs, 49, of Niles, during a robbery attempt at a house on Old Forge Road, which is just a short distance east of Friday’s killing.
An investigation determined that Boggs had broken into a house at 1773 Old Forge while no one was home, but a neighbor noticed Boggs walking up the driveway and called 911.
Police responded and saw Boggs through a window and saw he had a gun. Boggs went out the back door of the home into a fenced-in yard, where officers ordered him to drop his weapon. Boggs refused, then fired his gun at officers. Three officers fired back, hitting Boggs multiple times. No officers were injured.