Intruder Killed by 85-Year-Old Homeowner Identified as His Relative

The intruder shot and killed by an 85-year-old homeowner on Friday, Dec. 9, was identified as the man’s nephew-in-law, WXPI reported.

The intruder was identified as 49-year-old Dennis Mercadante, investigators say. Pennsylvania State Police identified the body using facial recognition software.

Don Lutz, an octogenarian, was confronted by the intruders at his home located on Jamison Avenue in Ellport. An altercation took place.

“I just fired one. It was in the dark. He attacked me and he was up close and I shot him,” Lutz told NBC affiliate WPXI. “They jumped me and we both went on the floor. I scuffled with them on the floor and the one guy rolled over dead and the other guy, he jumped up and went out the door.”

According to WTAE, the intruders broke into the home and tried to steal from the elderly man.

Authorities said Lutz shot and killed one of the intruders, but the second intruder fled the scene. Police are still searching for the suspect who ran away.

“The other one, maybe the bullet hit him, too. I don’t know. I hope so,” Lutz told WPXI.

Lutz did not sustain any serious injuries.

He told the network he was prepared for such incidents, adding that he keeps a gun under his pillow.

Investigators think Lutz may have been targeted in the incident, but they have not found the reason behind it.

Gabriella DeLuca, a reporter for WPXI, said Lutz told them he was only “a little sore” after the altercation. He said he is in good spirits.

Lutz, a Korean War Army veteran told WTAE that his faith helped him through the ordeal.

“I’ve never been afraid in my life,” he said. “God has always been with me, and I’m a hard believer in God and Jesus Christ and God was with me tonight.”

Ellwood City Police said the shooting was justified and that Lutz will not be facing any charges.

Police said that the investigation is ongoing.

Bowen Xiao contributed to this report.

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