OAKTON, Va. (7News) — Detectives with the Fairfax County Police Department spent hours at the Oakton house Thursday where they say a homeowner shot and killed an intruder Wednesday evening.
"It's still a very, very active investigation, but preliminarily, we are investigating this as a self-defense fatal shooting," Second Lieutenant James Curry with the Fairfax County Police Department said on the scene Wednesday night.
Police identified the man who was killed Friday as 24-year-old Eduardo Santos of Herndon. They said it's unclear why he walked up to that particular home at about 6 p.m. Wednesday. Police do not believe the homeowner knew the man.
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Police said the homeowner was outside on his property, located in the 11400 block of Waples Mill Road in Oakton, when he first encountered the man.
"When he encountered this man, there was some sort of interaction that led to an altercation," Curry said, adding that the homeowner then went inside the home. "He retrieved a firearm from inside the home and at some point the man made entry into the home with an object that appears to be a large landscaping rock. The homeowner then fired and shot the man."
On Friday, police shared what they believe led to the shooting.
The homeowner saw Santos on his property and asked him to leave. Santos then allegedly assaulted the homeowner with a stick. When the homeowner tried to retreat inside his home, Santos tackled him and the homeowner was injured.
The homeowner got inside his home and grabbed his gun. Santos came into the home with the large landscaping rock and lunged at the homeowner. The homeowner shot Santos.
Curry said officers responding to the scene rendered immediate medical treatment, but Santos died on the scene.
Detectives said the homeowner's family, including two kids, were inside the home when the shooting happened. 7News obtained dispatch audio, that describes the 911 call made by the homeowner's wife:
Caller advised her husband fired his gun and shot someone that was approaching.
Investigators said there was one other call to the police from that neighborhood, earlier in the day on Wednesday.
"There was a call for service earlier in the day, where the man was seen in the area," Curry said. "When officers responded, he was not found at that time."
Neighbors who described their street as typically "quiet and peaceful" said they hoped to get more information soon from the police.
"We understand the investigation is ongoing, but we really need to know more about it," one neighbor told 7News. "We really want to know who this guy was. We want to know more details."
That neighbor also told 7News she knows the homeowner.
"Yes, we know them. Very nice guy, a very good lady. Small kids - just a very good man," she said. "We're so sorry to hear this. It's terrible."
Police did confirm neighbors' reports that the man who was killed knocked on the door of another nearby home prior to the deadly encounter. Neighbors said that homeowner did not know the man and did not open the door.
7News asked police whether they've determined if alcohol, drugs, or mental health issues are involved, but those questions have not yet been answered.
Police did respond to an initial call about Santos Wednesday. Officers found him, but there was no crime. Santos refused to speak to police and walked away from the area. When the second call happened, police didn't find Santos.
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At the scene on Wednesday, Curry said the man's identity could help investigators "start putting some puzzle pieces together, as far as why he was in this area, why was he at this home".
Curry reiterated that police do not believe there's any connection between that man and the homeowner.
Police said the homeowner sustained non-life-threatening injuries during his altercation with the man. The homeowner was taken to the hospital on Wednesday but is expected to be okay.
Anyone with information about Santos is asked to call detectives at 703-246-7800, option 2. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by phone – 1-866-411-TIPS (866-411-8477), and by web – Click HERE. Download the ‘P3 Tips’ App and follow the steps to “Fairfax Co Crime Solvers”. Anonymous tipsters are eligible for cash rewards of $100 to $1,000 dollars. Please leave contact information if you wish for a detective to follow up with you.