A home invasion suspect is dead and a left homeowner terribly shaken.
That homeowner was fast asleep when police say Jason Rabe, 23, of Three Oaks Twp. Mich, shattered a rear window and climbed inside the log cabin-styled home.
The terrifying intrusion played out Monday around 9:15 a.m. EST, along the 6700 E. block of County Road 1000 North. That's about three miles north of Hudson Lake, near the Indiana-Michigan state line.
According to the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Dept., Rabe rode to the house on a moped with the intent to break-in. The sole homeowner, a middle-aged man, awoke to the sound of shattering glass.
He grabbed a pistol and began to canvass his home, when he stumbled across Rabe, who was carrying a hatchet. Words were reportedly exchanged and a tussle broke out, during which the homeowner pulled the trigger, killing the 23-year-old on the spot.
The homeowner then ran for the phone and dialed 911, prompting LaPorte County deputies to race to the scene. There they discovered Rabe deceased with a single gunshot wound to the upper left chest, and the homeowner who police say was “extremely upset.”
Doctor Joseph Prahlow performed an autopsy on Rabe Monday afternoon at the St. Joseph Regional Medical Center. LaPorte County Coroner John Sullivan said the bullet essentially ruptured Rabe’s heart. The wound so severe, Memorial MedFlight and the best heart surgeon couldn’t have saved him, Sullivan added.
Detectives spent most of the morning and afternoon interviewing the homeowner at the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department complex. Their primary objective was to determine whether Rabe was killed in self-defense. By 5 p.m. Monday, Sheriff Mollenhauer told NewsCenter 16, “I’m 100 percent certain the homeowner will not be charged with a crime.”
This isn’t Rabe’s first run in with law enforcement. In Nov. 2010, New Buffalo city police ticketed the then 20-year-old for possession of marijuana and retail fraud. Rabe plead guilty to the retail fraud charge later that month. While a judge ordered him to pay $410 in court costs, Rabe did not spend one day behind bars.
According to police, crime is almost a foreign word for the rural-wooded part of the county. However, that serene landscape does provide great shelter for criminal activity.
"For anybody that’s looking to break into homes, whether it be a burglary or a home invasion, it makes an area desirable to people because you can't see the home from the road. As you pass the driveway, you can get a glimpse of it, and that's about it,” Sheriff Mollenhauer remarked.
The homeowner, who did not know Rabe, suffered a few cuts and bruises in the attack, but declined medical treatment.