Atlanta police investigate fatal shooting of backyard property prowler (VIDEO)

Authorities believe the home may have been targeted due to its secluded location back away from the road and long driveway. (Photo credit: WSB-TV)

Authorities believe the home may have been targeted due to its secluded location back away from the road and long driveway. (Photo credit: WSB-TV)

In what police are describing as an attempted burglary, an Atlanta homeowner shot and killed an intruder who he found on his property early Monday morning and according to police, this wasn’t the first time the home had been targeted.

It was about 7:30 a.m. when the homeowner spotted the suspect on his property, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

“The intruder was found outside the house, but we’re still speaking with the homeowner and trying to determine exactly what happened. On the surface, it would appear like a burglary attempt,” said Atlanta police Capt. Paul Guerrucci.

In Georgia, deadly force can only be used when one feels their life is in danger. However, authorities are investigating the details which led up to the shooting.

“Any time somebody encounters somebody in their back yard at 7:30 in the morning, it can be quite frightening,” Guerrucci said. “There was some type of engagement between the two. A shot was fired…the intruder was actually shot by the homeowner and killed on scene.”

The suspect, whose identity has not been revealed, pending notification of next of kin, even though outside of the home was on the homeowner’s property despite the property being surrounded by a fence and the entry gate padlocked. Details of exactly where in the yard the shooting occurred or where the suspect’s body was found were not immediately available.

However, police did confirm that the home had been the target for another break-in just two days prior to the shooting.

“A subject broke into that house, which also put the homeowners in fear of their lives,” Guerrucci said. “Based on the information that we were originally given during that break-in it is very possible that this is the same individual.”

The homeowner, whose name has also not been made public, was held during questioning but later released. Guerrucci confirmed that nothing about the case appears to be “out of the ordinary.”

Neighbors say it’s no surprise the suspect was found on the homeowner’s property, as crime in the area has recently been on the rise. In fact, Mercy Hernandez, who lives across the street from where the suspect was shot, told reporters her and her boyfriend were robbed at gunpoint by three men just last month. A third robbery allegedly occurred on the same street a few weeks ago.

Although it does not appear the three are connected, authorities said they would be pulling evidence from them all to take a second look and explore what, if anything, can be done to reduce the growing crime problem in the area.