MELBOURNE, Fla. -- Mike Augenti heard his girlfriend scream and ran toward the front door. There he confronted several men.
He drew his handgun.
Within moments, the invaders - one grazed by a bullet - had fled, a dog was wounded and Augenti, his girlfriend and their infant daughter were left scared and shocked.
Someone at the corner-lot home called police. It was 11:41 p.m. Wednesday. Gunshots rang out through the neighborhood.
The caller reported as many as four men, some armed with firearms, had broken into the home. Carissa Augenti said her brother confronted the robbers at the front door.
"My brother was just about to leave, and he heard (his girlfriend) scream," she said.
"The homeowner reacted by pulling his own handgun and firing at the suspects," Melbourne Police Sgt. Sheridan Shelley said. A pit bull was hit, Carissa Augenti said.
The suspects fled.
"Officers searched the area of the home looking for the suspects but didn't find them," Shelley said. "Other officers went to area hospitals when they learned there might be an injury."
Officers were waiting at Holmes Regional Medical Center when two men dropped off a man police identified as Bobby Culler, 25. Culler had been shot in the arm; police suspect it was during the home invasion robbery. Culler had an active warrant for his arrest, for allegedly failing to appear in court, and police say more charges are pending when he is released from the hospital. Records show Culler has pending cases accusing him of drug possession and resisting police.
Police caught up with the two men who dropped Culler off. Shelley said one of them, the driver, was released. Investigators are working to determine whether the driver was involved in the original crime.
The passenger, identified by police as Leonard Valentine, was arrested. Valentine, 18, is charged with armed burglary and a violation of probation.
Police did not say whether the suspects returned fire; however, at least one firearm was found in the yard. Six planks of a wood fence ringing Augenti's backyard had been broken and police evidence markers were placed nearby.
Augenti is not facing charges.
"From what we're looking at right now, it would definitely be a case of self defense." Shelley said. "When you have armed intruders entering your home, you do have that right to defend yourself."
Augenti, his sister and his girlfriend returned to the home Thursday morning to pick up some belongings.
"She's not going to be living here anymore. She's startled," Carissa Augenti said. "I'm just glad my brother was here."
Stacey Barchenger, Florida Today