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State police: Schuylkill County homeowner fatally shoots 18-year-old intruder

By Catherine Hawley, Reporter, @CatherineH_WFMZ, chawley@wfmz.com
Published On: Aug 24 2013 08:19:54 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 26 2013 06:23:54 AM CDT

Intruder shot inside Schuylkill Co. home

EAST BRUNSWICK TWP., Pa. -

An investigation into a deadly shooting in Schuylkill County is now in the hands of the district attorney.

An 18-year-old is dead, and a couple is shaken up after a home invasion in East Brunswick Township turned deadly Saturday evening.

State police say Curt Stein and Melissa Booth came home around 5:30 p.m., and something seemed off at their Steep Mountain Road house.

"The inside of the house looked different," explained State Police Trooper David Boehm,  "As if somebody may have been in the house."

According to authorities, Stein discovered 18-year-old Zachary Foster inside his home.  It's not clear whether the two knew each other, but Foster lived just down the road.  The two families' mailboxes are side by side. 

"They end up getting into a physical altercation," described Boehm.  "The homeowner then shoots the young man."

Officers tell us multiple shots were fired, and Foster died at the scene.  Stein had minor injuries from the fight.  Investigators say Foster broke into the home.  It's unclear if he was armed.

"It would appear that the rear door in the basement area was kicked in or forced open," Boehm added.

Stein's property is clearly marked with no trespassing signs, warning it could end with injury or death.  The 49-year-old and Booth were back at their home Sunday, but had no comment about the deadly shooting.  Nearby at Foster's house, family and friends were hugging and comforting each other.  While police continue to investigate.

"We'll submit our report to the Schuylkill County District Attorney then they will look at the report and then, based on law, decide if the homeowner was justified in using deadly force," Boehm said.

Here in the Commonwealth, the castle doctrine self defense law has been on the books for years.

"A homeowner has the right to protect his house and his property," said Boehm.  "And if it gets to the point where he's in fear of death or serious bodily injury then he can use deadly force."