WOODBINE, Md. (WJZ) — The homeowner who fatally shot a man who was trying to enter his home said he fired his gun as a “last resort.”

Charles Dorsey shot and killed Gary Espinoza, a father and business owner, after being awakened by Espinoza’s knocks at his door.

Espinoza’s family said he simply mistook the home for that of his friends, with whom he was staying at the time.

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“Our investigators believe, at this time, he was staying with a friend in that neighborhood,” said Howard County Police spokesperson Sherry Llewellyn.

Wednesday, Dorsey’s lawyer released a statement on his behalf, saying he and his wife were “confused and frightened” when they were woken up just after 1 a.m. Sunday.

They described Espinoza using threatening language.

Dorsey’s wife called 911 ten minutes later, shortly before Dorsey fired a single shot.

“While the Dorseys mourn the loss of life, they want all to understand that this was a defense of last resort, after repeated warnings for the unknown intruder to leave their family home,” the statement reads. “They live in a very rural area, and were left with no choice but to defend their lives and property.”

Carriage Mill Road is rural but has 43 homes.

Police have yet to say the exact location where Espinoza was shot and whether he actually entered the home. They have said doorbell video shows he “jostled” the door handle.

The Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office is now reviewing the case to decide whether any charges will be filed against Dorsey. Officials said that process will likely take some time.

Espinoza’s visitation is Friday in Fairfax, Virginia.

Dorsey declined to comment on the case to WJZ Monday; his lawyer also turned down a request for an interview Thursday, instead referring to his statement.

Paul Gessler

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