Christmas burglar shot by Anaheim Hills homeowner

ANAHEIM HILLS, Calif. (KABC) -- A burglar wearing a ski mask who broke into a home in Anaheim Hills early Christmas morning was shot by the homeowner.

Police say the shooting happened at a home in the 900 block of Country Glen Way at around 3:30 a.m.

After exchanging gifts with his wife, Nathanael Blair says he went to move his truck. When he opened the door to his garage, he came face-to-face with a man in a ski mask.

"It was beyond anything I've ever experienced in my life, you know, I mean I've never felt like I could die," Blair said.

The suspected burglar swung a wrench at Blair, hitting him on the side of the face. A little bit dazed, Blair ran upstairs to lock his wife and 3-year-old daughter in a room.

Then, he grabbed his shotgun, chased the suspect on foot, and fired a single shot.

"I had my gun and he tried to round the corner, and I shot him, you know, in the back," Blair said.

Despite the wound, the suspect ran off. Responding Anaheim police officers set up a perimeter and began searching for the suspect.

He was located shortly before 5 a.m. in a garage in the 1000 block of Country Glen Street. Anaheim police Lt. Bob Dunn said the suspect, identified as Jeremy William Bell, 29, of Fullerton, suffered minor, non-life threatening injuries. He was being treated at a local hospital after suffering injuries to his back. The homeowner declined medical attention.

Anaheim police say Bell attempted to break into a home in the 830 block of Quiet Canyon Way earlier in the night. The homeowner told police he saw the suspect trying to break into a downstairs window.

Officers responded to the report of a burglary in progress at around 11:30 p.m., but were not able to locate Bell. He fled on foot before police arrived.

The investigation is ongoing, but Bell is suspected of being involved in both incidents. He will be charged with residential robbery following his release from the hospital.

As for Blair, he says he's still shaken up, but relieved to know the man who put his family in danger, is behind bars.

"At least be able to know that my family is safe and sound, and you know the rest of my Christmas Day, we'll just have to see how it ends up going," Blair said.

Copyright © 2021 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved.