Kevin Madigan, 46, of Boca Raton, never expected to be under attack after he hurled a clay paving brick through the window of 73-year-old Charles Rieckman’s house in the course of his attempt to attain some of Mr. Rieckman’s cash or property which would assist in the funding of his crack cocaine habit.
Watching in horror as Madigan entered his home through the damaged window and snatched his flat-screen television, Rieckman ran into his bedroom, grabbed his 38 caliber pistol which he stored in a bedside nightstand drawer and then ran out of his house in hot pursuit of the intruder.
Once outside, he found Madigan brawling with his 70-yearld old neighbor Joan Thurmond, as she was making an effort to call 911. Seeing the battle in progress he then drew his weapon, opened fire, shooting five or six rounds at the perpetrator. At least a few bullets hit pay dirt but Mr. Rieckman didn’t know at the time if he wounded the suspect or not as he witnessed Madigan continue running to his parked silver Toyota Camry, get inside, start the vehicle and zip away, pilfering his T.V.
When police responded they asked Rieckman if he thought the robber knew he’d been hit. He replied “I don’t know if he knew or not .He stopped tussling with my neighbor, so maybe I hit him and that’s when he decided to take off because he was trying to get her phone and she held onto it.”
Ms. Thurmond was in front of her house when she heard the sound of glass shattering next door. When she saw Madigan, she started to shout that she was calling the police. After that the suspect attacked her.
“I was scared. I was very scared,” she said, but was still able to get through to 911. “We need help,” she roared to the 911 operator. “Ma’am, what’s going on?” the operator questioned. “Somebody’s shooting,” she continued. She went on to inform the operator that “There’s a guy with coal-black hair, heavy-set, with a white T-shirt. He left in a silver sedan car.” Her level-headedness in giving a proper description to the 911 operator assisted the police in finding the suspect and his vehicle.
The gunplay ended when Rieckman felt that the threat had concluded. “At that time I realized I was out of danger and so was Joan. I could have fired and flattened his tires.”
Mr. Rieckman, a retired high school math teacher, originally from New Jersey said it was the first time that he had ever fired a gun for personal defense. He bought the gun years before.
“I had never even shot it before,” he remarked. “Actually, I pulled the trigger and nothing happened. I didn’t remember I had to pull back on the clip, so I pulled back on the clip and it started shooting.”
Rieckman credits his former vocation as being partially responsible for saving the day. He mentioned that he’d tangled with tough guys before. “I used to be a teacher, which trains you to deal with incorrigibles.”
Police found Madigan a few miles away in Oakland Park, slumped over the wheel of his Camry which had crashed into some bushes near the intersection of N.E. 11th Ave. and 43rd St., according to sheriff’s spokesman Mike Jachles. He was bleeding but “his injuries were described as not life-threatening,” he said. “There was stolen property recovered, a TV among other things, in his vehicle.” He was taken to a Fort Lauderdale hospital in police custody to have his wounds attended to.
Last week, after being released from the hospital, Madigan was observed weeping and grimacing in pain as Broward Judge John Hurley set his bail at $216 thousand during his bond hearing.
At the hearing, a friend told the Judge that Madigan is a drug addict who needs treatment. She went on to comment that “When he is clean and sober, he is a decent human being” She also told the Judge that her friend was hit with four rounds: one in his stomach, his hand, a kneecap and on his shin.
According to the Broward Sheriff’s Office Madigan faces multiple charges, including burglary on an occupied dwelling, criminal mischief, strong-arm robbery and grand theft.
“It appears this was a justifiable shooting. Every indication is that the homeowner was defending himself, his property and his neighbor from being attacked by the intruder,” according to the Sheriff’s office spokesman.
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