Suspect killed in Winter Haven home invasion

7:02 PM, May 27, 2012   |    comments
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WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- A man is dead after trying to break into a Winter Haven home Sunday morning.

According to the Polk County Sheriff's Office, it received a 911 call from a homeowner on Lake Daisy Drive at around 3:55 a.m. The woman told dispatchers that she had heard a noise outside and had spotted a man, 40-year-old Christopher Deese, laying on the patio table of her screened-in back porch.

While heading to the scene, the PCSO received a second call from the home next door. William Cornwell, 33, told dispatchers that Deese had just broken into his home and that he had fatally shot the intruder.

According to investigators, Cornwell yelled at Deese several times to go away and that he had the wrong house. Deese continued banging on the front door, then ran into the Cornwell's home when William Cornwell opened the door.

Deputies say Cornwell accidentally discharged his gun during the altercation, causing Deese to stop briefly, take off his shirt and yell, "You wanna fight?" They say he then ran directly at Cornwell, who fired one more round into the intruder's chest, killing him.

"If there ever was a justified shooting, this is it," said Sheriff Grady Judd. "This is a classic 'Castle Doctrine' case -- William Cornwell had every right to protect himself, his wife, and his children, from this irrational, out of control man who broke into their home. The mistake the suspect made by breaking into that home was a fatal one."

Detectives say they are interviewing Deese's friends to piece together the events that led to his shooting.

Polk County Sheriff's Office

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