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Homeowner shoots, kills intruder in Polk County, sheriff's office says

The sheriff said the man broke into the home by tearing the screen and shattering a glass window.
Credit: Polk County Sheriff's Office

AUBURNDALE, Fla. — A couple's night out turned deadly when a man broke into a woman's home to reach his girlfriend early Saturday morning, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office.

It happened early Saturday morning on Ellie Road in Auburndale.

Sheriff Grady Judd said two couples went out for the evening and returned to one of their homes at 4 a.m. An argument broke out between one of the couples: Joshua Mathieu, 34, and his girlfriend. Judd said the Mathieu left the house with the other man once the argument got heated.

The two drove off but later turned back when detectives said Mathieu changed his mind and decided to go back to the house to get his girlfriend.

When he arrived, Judd said Mathieu demanded his girlfriend to come outside. When no one answered, detectives said he grabbed a tire iron from his vehicle and threatened to break in.

Investigators found Mathieu broke into the home by tearing the screen and shattering a glass window.

The homeowner inside shot him once he was inside, killing him. Judd said the woman had every right to protect herself in her home.

"You can't just break into people's homes," Judd said.

According to the sheriff's office, Mathieu had a criminal history dating back to 2010, including several battery arrests (in 2013, 2015, and 2019), two burglaries, and several disorderly conduct arrests.

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