Winter Haven family opens fire, kills would-be intruder

Winter Haven, FL -- In short, say Winter Haven police, 40-year-old Mitchell Large messed with the wrong house.

Three members of the Pena family- Luis, his wife and adult son- all armed themselves shortly before 7:00 Monday morning after awakening to the sound of someone on their back porch.

"It appears at least two of the family members fired in defense of themselves and their property," said Winter Haven police Chief Chief Hester.

Luis Pena, say detectives, first fired a warning shot above the back doors, but told detectives that Large just kept coming.

"Eventually he did enter the residence, and advanced toward the family members," said Hester.

STORY: Family shoots, kills burglar breaking into home

Police and neighbors say something like this is extremely unusual for the neighborhood.

"It's very quiet, peaceful," said Almonte Ford who has has lived there for six years.

Ford and fiancé Breaunna Smith say as far as they're concerned, the Penas did the right thing.

"They let him know – 'hey this is a warning; we're in here. Don't come in here', and then he basically got what he deserved. I mean you can't just walk into people's house," said Smith.

Investigators say Mitchell Large, who appeared to be unarmed, has a criminal history of assault and domestic violence.

There appears, they say, to be no link between Large and the Pena family, making charges that much less likely.

"Whether he was armed or not armed, when he failed to retreat they certainly had a right, if it turns out to be this way, would have a right - to defend themselves" said Chief Hester.

YOUR THOUGHTS: Do you think the family did the right thing? How does this story make you feel?

"You know, I hate that a man was shot, and I hate that he died," added neighbor Denver Kemp, "but you know you've got to take a stand against people that are doing this stuff."


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