LAYTON — A Layton homeowner who fired shots at alleged burglars was arrested on two misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment and released.
The alleged burglar, Robert Santos Cruz, was booked into the Davis County Jail on second-degree felony residential burglary and misdemeanor criminal mischief.
Clare B. Niederhauser, 64, returned to his home near the Valley View Golf Course Thursday just before 4 p.m. and found a car parked in his driveway with two occupants inside. A man was standing in his doorway holding a pry bar, according to a Layton Police press release.
Niederhauser retrieved a gun from his vehicle and allegedly confronted the suspect, holding him at gunpoint. Police say Niederhauser ordered Cruz to drop the crowbar and Cruz complied.
It was at this time that Niederhauser noticed the suspect vehicle backing out of the driveway. Niederhauser allegedly fired toward the vehicle in an attempt to strike a tire or the engine compartment, said Layton police Lt. Shawn Horton.
Niederhauser then turned his attention back to Cruz, ordering him into the driveway, as he retrieved a cell phone from his car. He called 911 while continuing to hold Cruz at gunpoint, Horton said.
As officers arrived, Niederhauser's attention turned toward the officer and Cruz ran away toward the home' backyard. Niederhauser allegedly chased Cruz and fired a single shot into the field behind the home.
Police then told Niederhauser to put the gun away and he complied, Horton said. Officers then located and arrested Cruz without incident. Cruz was not armed.
The suspect vehicle is described as a gray four-door passenger car. The female driver is described as between 20 to 30 years old. A passenger in the back of the vehicle is described as a male between 60 and 70 years old. Police are still searching for the car and the suspects.
Police determined that felony charges against Niederhauser were not appropriate, as it appeared Niederhauser was not trying to shoot the suspects, Horton said.
However, the misdemeanor charges were filed because Niederhauser's decision to fire, "was reckless and created a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury to another person,” Horton said.
Layton police provided extra patrol for Niederhauser and the surrounding neighborhood Thursday night and into Friday morning, according to the press release.
A similar residential burglary was reported within the past two months on east Gentile Street with a similar modus operandi, police said.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Layton Police at 801-497-8300.