BALTIMORE (WJZ)—A 24-year-old Navy veteran is in intensive care after being shot by city police Thursday night.  His family tells WJZ that he was testing out a shotgun after being the victim of a home invasion.

Mike Schuh spoke exclusively to the man’s father.

Police say officers responded to reports of shots fired Thursday night outside a home in the 8700-block of Danville Avenue.

“They went to the rear of the location to investigate. They encountered an individual that was armed with a shotgun. During the course of that encounter, one of our officers discharged, striking the suspect,” said  Sgt. Eric Kowalczyk, police spokesman.

Shot above his heart was Navy veteran Nick Romano. The police bullet exited his back. His spleen was removed at the hospital.

His father rushed to the scene.

“I got a phone call, hysterical, from my ex-wife saying my son was just shot by the police,” said David Romano, father.

He says there’s a good reason why his son had a weapon. Last week, two men broke into the house, tied up his son’s mother and ransacked the place. Nick Romano was in Florida at the time on vacation. Once he got back, his friends offered to help and gave him a rifle and a shotgun for protection.

Four gunshot holes and blood spatter can be found in the backyard.

His dad says his son should not have been firing the weapon here, but he says police fired without warning.

“He was just trying to get a feel of the weapon in case those intruders came back,” David Romano said.

WJZ contacted the police to find out if officers identified themselves and if Nick Romano was ordered to put down his weapon.

“I don’t want to speculate about the officer’s words or motivations or how quickly he fired. I think it’s important to understand that the officers responded to a shots fired call,” Kowalczyk said.

Meanwhile, David Romano just wants answers and a fair investigation. He says if police would’ve identified themselves and ordered his son to put down the weapon he would have done so.

“Absolutely, in a heartbeat. Anybody with common sense would’ve done that,” David Romano said.

Romano’s father was one of the Navy seamen who helped rescue victims from the water taxi when it capsized nine years ago near Fort McHenry.

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