UPDATED 03/26/12 5:17 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Neighbors in Englewood are not pleased after an 80-year-old bar owner was arrested for shooting a man who was allegedly burglarizing his house.
Homer Wright allegedly shot Anthony Robinson, 19, in the leg as Robinson tried to break into Wright’s home, in the 6400 block of South Morgan Street, to steal liquor around 6:30 a.m. Monday, police said. Wright operates his bar, Tanks Lounge, from the same building, and is affectionately known as “Tank,” Englewood activists say.
The bar has been in business for more than 40 years and is considered to be a community center.
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Wright was asleep with his wife when Robinson allegedly broke into their home. Authorities said he was trying to steal liquor from the bar. Wright shot Robinson in the leg when he caught Robinson breaking in.
But Wright is a convicted felon, and is not allowed to own a gun, according to police, so he was charged with felony unlawful use of a weapon.
Robinson is charged with burglary.
Wright appeared in bond court Tuesday afternoon, holding a baseball cap in his hand as a judge ordered him released on his own recognizance.
“Old man is protecting his family and his home,” Wright’s grandson, Courtney Cook, said. “Is he supposed to be the victim?”
Cook said it wasn’t the fist time someone broke into his grandfather’s building.
“December, November, … last summer,” Cook said. “He’s tired of it.”
As CBS 2’s Brad Edwards reports, when Wright left the courthouse, he told reporters he would do the same thing again under similar circumstances, even though he was arrested for illegally owning a gun.
“You would too,” Wright said. “Anytime a person invading your privacy, and wasn’t invited; just go do what you have to do,” Wright said.
Robinson also appeared in bond court, wearing a blue hospital gown that he held closed with one hand. Authorities said that Wright had shot him in the ankle. He was ordered held on $150,000 bail.
Wright’s arrest has made some Englewood residents so angry that they held a news conference in front of Tanks Lounge, 6458 S. Morgan St. They also came to the Cook County Criminal Courthouse afterward, as Wright was in court.
The activists point out in a news release that many other senior citizens have shot suspects in self-defense and have not been arrested.
“If the Chicago Police want to build a relationship with the community, this is a bad example,” community organizer Anita Dominique said in a news release. “I have known Tank for over 30 years and he is a pillar of our community. What does it say to me and other senior citizens that we will be arrested if we defend ourselves? This is an outrage.”
Activists are trying to convince Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez to drop the charges against Wright. Prosecutors declined to comment on the case, since the case is still pending.