A Florida homeowner fatally shot a man who wandered into his unlocked apartment – a neighbor whose sister says sometimes wandered aimlessly after suffering seizures, according to reports.
John Edmund Barbour, 71, gunned down Gregory Miller, 52, in the Gainesville apartment early Sunday after Barbour warned him several times to leave the premises, police told the Gainesville Sun.
Miller, who was shot multiple times, was later found by police lying inside Barbour’s living room. There were no signs of forced entry and Barbour’s door was unlocked at the time, Gainesville police spokesman Ben Tobias told the newspaper.
“The elderly homeowner has been very cooperative with police and charges are not expected,” Tobias said. “While we sadly don’t know exactly what the intent was for Mr. Miller when he entered the apartment, the situation is tragic all around.”
Miller’s relatives told police that he had suffered from seizures that led to erratic behavior after a head injury more than 30 years ago, Tobias said.
Angela Christian, Miller’s sister, told the newspaper that her brother fractured the base of his skull, leading to decades of seizures that caused him to sometimes behave abnormally. It’s unclear whether Miller had a seizure prior to entering Barbour’s apartment, according to the newspaper.
“His neighbors knew him as someone who would help them take out the trash,” Christian said. “He’d never want to hurt anyone.”
Miller had absolutely no reason to enter Barbour’s apartment, Christian insisted. She believes her brother had a seizure and wandered out of his apartment before unknowingly entering Barbour’s residence, which is located across a lawn at Whisperwood Apartments.
“It’s not [Barbour’s] fault because he didn’t know and he was probably scared,” Christian said. “I just don’t know why the first thought is to shoot. I wish he would have called the police. [Miller] would’ve probably been still standing there when they got there.”
Christian said she was also upset that some comments on social media seemingly took solace in the shooting, including one that suggested the shooting was a “score for the good guys.”
“He didn’t mean to do it,” Christian said of her brother. “People don’t understand. He was such a good person. He was just sick.”
Miller, according to the newspaper, graduated from Buchholz High School in Gainesville and worked in construction before retiring. He was “strong in his heart and honest with an amazing smile that you can never forget,” according to his wife, Karen Miller.
“He was loved,” she said in a statement. “We are devastated by all of this.”
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