Police in California are investigating after an 80-year-old homeowner shot dead a burglar even though she told him she was pregnant.
Tom Greer said he returned to his Long Beach home on Tuesday night to find a man and woman ransacking it for cash.
The intruders knocked the retiree to the floor, but hemanaged to reach his .22-calibre revolver when they turned their focus back to the robbery.
Mr Greer told NBC Los Angeles: “I come back and they see me with a gun, and they run.”
While the man managed to escape, Mr Greersaid he caught up with the woman in the alley behind his house.
“She says, ‘Don’t shoot me, I’m pregnant! I’m going to have a baby!’ And I shot her anyway,” hetold NBC.
“She was dead. I shot her twice, she best be dead. He had run off and left her. I shot her so that’s going to leave a message on his mind for the rest of his life.”
Police said the woman, who was in her20s, was pronounced dead at the scene. They have not confirmed whether she was pregnant.
The couple were not believed to have been armed.
Neighbours say Mr Greer had been the victim of numerous burglaries before.
George Romero told KTLA: “I remember the first break-in, they literally tore down the front door. That’s when I came in and met him and said: ‘What’s going on?’
“Apparently this couple has been doing this neighbourhood for some time.”
Mr Greer, who required hospital treatment for injuries to his shoulder, told NBC that the same couple had robbed him on two previous occasions.
Neighbour George Prince Jr told KTLA: “Some people have the ability to protect themselves, other people don’t. Fortunately, this person did have that ability.”
Police say they are continuing to search for the second suspect and are investigating the incident.
No one has been arrested.