Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2002 | 11:04 a.m.
At first glance, the house looks like any other house on this North Las Vegas block.
But if you walk up the pathway, you'll see pieces of broken wood on the porch and a battered front door off its hinges, leaning against the facade.
And if the homeowner, Steve, lets you inside, you'll see bullet holes.
Steve -- he asked that his last name not be used -- shot two men Monday morning who broke down his door in an apparent attempt to burglarize his house.
"I was aiming at his head and he moved," Steve said, sitting in a green easy chair in his house Tuesday afternoon. "I fully believed they were going to kill us."
Steve took his two children to school Monday morning, then came home to Rockpine Drive to take care of his wife, who wasn't feeling well.
At 9:50 a.m., someone started ringing the doorbell and banging on the front door. Steve's wife looked out the peephole and saw several unfamiliar men. She told Steve not to answer the door.
Steve was lingering on the other side of the front door, waiting for the men to go away, when he heard a man say, "OK, do it."
Suddenly, he heard a loud, wood-splitting bang and saw the door casing break apart. Steve and his wife ran to his first-floor bedroom and closed the door. His wife called 9-1-1. Steve, who spent 22 years in the military, went to the closet and quickly worked the combination on his safe. He grabbed his .380 firearm and loaded it.
The intruders kicked the door again, knocking it off its hinges.
Still in his bedroom with his wife, Steve positioned himself in front of his closed bedroom door. One of the intruders grabbed the doorknob, but before he could get inside, Steve squeezed off a round.
The bullet went through the bedroom door, through the intruder's shoulder, through a closet door and became lodged in a closet shelf.
Steve went into the foyer and saw a second intruder.
"He was getting ready to follow the other guy, and I shot him in the butt," Steve said.
The two intruders went outside and Steve followed.
Standing in his yard, Steve looked up and saw a third intruder on the roof of his house. The intruder had broken the screen and climbed out the window, then jumped from the roof. The two others apparently made their way out of the house.
At least one of the intruders made it over Steve's back wall, but the one shot in the buttocks couldn't make it. Steve brought him back to the house and made him lay down until North Las Vegas Police arrived.
Ronald Cousin, 18; Steve Nelon, 19; Jerome Thompson, 19; and two 16-year-old boys were arrested Monday for burglary with use of a deadly weapon and home invasion.
The injured intruders were not seriously hurt.
After the suspects were taken into custody, officers found that one of the juveniles was carrying a gun.
"They were stupid," Steve said. "They picked the wrong house."
North Las Vegas Police Lt. Art Redcay said this morning that the intruders were "casing the neighborhood," knocking on doors of other houses, but the residents answered the door.
Police said no charges are expected to be filed against Steve because it appears he acted in self-defense.
"The homeowner believed his life and his wife's life were in danger," Redcay said. "He took steps to protect himself."
A neighbor went out right away and bought him a new front door, then hung it on its hinges. Neighbors also bleached the bloodstains out of Steve's cream-colored carpet.
"We all take pretty good care of each other," he said. "We have some great neighbors."
Steve and his family have lived in the neighborhood for more than three years, and he said he's never had a problem with crime. He's never had a reason to shoot his gun, except at the shooting range.
"We were blessed that day," he said. "I definitely believe a higher power was at work."