NEW YORK (CBS 2/1010 WINS) – Two brazen burglars in Brooklyn apparently picked the wrong house to break into – on the other side of the door, they found a retired schoolteacher with a licensed, and loaded, gun.
Neighbors describe Larry Goldstein as timid and shy, and the retired schoolteacher certainly appeared that way. He hid behind his front door as police investigated the early morning shooting in Mill Basin, where Goldstein opened fire with his licensed handgun on two would-be burglars.
“I know Larry well – he’s a very nice fellow,” Larry’s mailman, Luis Ramirez, said. “He was protecting his house. He had a right to bear arms, so obviously he’s in the right, but when you shoot somebody, it’s difficult to comprehend.”
“Wonderful person, very mild-mannered, gentle man, it’s just unfortunate. What could be going through his head, now having to have to shoot someone in his own house, being invaded like that. It’s unfortunate,” said resident Mike Reinhardt.
LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reports
Police say it was just before 2 a.m. Wednesday when Goldstein and his wife heard a noise downstairs in the home on 64th Street. The 62-year-old confronted two suspects in his kitchen after they apparently slipped in through a basement window.
The suspect who was shot, police say, had a starter’s pistol in his hand. He was shot three times as his accomplice fled, reports CBS 2′s Magee Hickey.
Goldstein was eventually brought to the 63rd Precinct stationhouse for questioning, but was released without being charged with any crime.
When reached for comment, Goldstein said that on the advice of his lawyer, he was not allowed to talk about what happened in the early morning hours at his home. When asked if he was a hero, he said, “no comment.”
“I believe he is [a hero],” neighbor Fred Barone said. “Hopefully he’s going to make people think twice about coming around here and knocking down doors.”
“As a person who has never been a proponent of gun ownership, I am glad he had one now,” another neighbor, Betty Sikorski, said.
Police say there had been several break-ins and home invasions in the neighborhood in the last few months.
“Lately, it’s been kind of bad. There’s been a few home invasions I heard. I don’t know, I guess we have to get a grip on the neighborhood,” said resident John Akman.
“This is a very safe neighborhood but I’ve been hearing about break-ins in the neighborhood,” Ramirez said.
The wounded suspect, Alexander Manigat, is still listed in critical condition at Brookdale Hospital. He has been charged with robbery and criminal possession of a fake gun.
His accomplice is still on the loose.