July 26, 2014 / 2:15 AM / 3 years ago

California burglary suspect may face murder charge in shooting by homeowner

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A Southern California burglary suspect faces possible murder charges in the fatal shooting of his alleged accomplice, even though she was gunned down by the elderly man they had just robbed as she pleaded she was pregnant, police said Friday.Ed Winter, assistant chief of the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office, said on Friday that an autopsy had determined that the woman, Andrea Miller, 28, was not pregnant at the time of her death.

Burglary suspects Andrea Miller (L) and Gus Adams are shown in this combination of handout booking photos provided by the Long Beach (CA) Police Department, released to Reuters July 25, 2014. REUTERS/Long Beach Police Department/Handout via Reuters

Gus Adams, 26, initially escaped from the scene of Tuesday night’s break-in and shooting in the Los Angeles suburb of Long Beach after Miller died in her failed getaway attempt, but Adams was arrested the next day, according to police.

Police now say that in addition to robbery charges, Adams could be charged with murder under a California law that makes a person criminally responsible for a homicide that occurs in the commission of a felony.

The Los Angeles County district attorney will decide what charges to bring once police conclude their investigation, including whether the homeowner who admitted to fatally shooting Miller should face prosecution.

The homeowner, Tom Greer, told Los Angeles television station KNBC that he shot the woman twice in the back just outside his home as she was running away, despite her begging for him to spare her life.

“She says, ‘Don’t shoot me. I‘m pregnant. I‘m going to have a baby,’ and I shot her anyway,” Greer said on Wednesday.

According to police, Greer came home to find Miller and Adams in the act of burglarizing his house, and they immediately began punching him and threw him to the floor, leaving Greer with a broken collar bone.

Left unrestrained while the pair focused on trying to break into a safe, Greer retrieved a pistol from another room and opened fire on the suspects, chasing them outside as he continued to shoot at them.

Miller was struck by gunfire in an alley, where she was pronounced dead by authorities arriving on the scene, according to a police account of the incident.

Greer later told police that his home had been burglarized on three previous occasions, and he believed the same suspects were behind those break-ins, police said.

Greer told KNBC he had never shot anyone before and considered himself “a good Christian.” He added, “When the time comes to defend yourself, you best do something.”

Additional reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis and Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Leslie Adler

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