US & Canada

California man Tom Greer shoots 'pregnant burglar'

Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell (right) leads a news conference in Long Beach, California, on 24 July 2014 Image copyright AP
Image caption Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell (right) said Andrea Miller did not appear pregnant at the time of her death

Authorities in California are investigating whether to press charges against an elderly man who fatally shot a suspected female burglar who said she was pregnant before he opened fire.

Tom Greer, 80, shot Andrea Miller, 28, after he chased her and a male suspect from his home on Tuesday.

A post-mortem examination is being conducted to determine if Miller was pregnant at the time of her death.

Miller's suspected accomplice Gus Adams, 26, has been arrested.

He is being held on suspicion of burglary and felony murder for his alleged role in the burglary that ended in Miller's death.

'Don't shoot me'

"The lady didn't run as fast as the man, so I shot her in the back twice," Mr Greer told a local television station following the break-in.

"She says, 'Don't shoot me, I'm pregnant... I'm going to have a baby,' and I shot her anyway," he added.

Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell later told reporters Miller did not appear pregnant at the time of the shooting.

Both Miller and Mr Adams were linked to similar crimes in the past, Mr McDonnell added.

Mr Greer is also said to have told police both suspects hit him, "body slamming" him to the floor, before he grabbed a weapon and chased them outside, shooting Miller.

He had also been burgled three times before and suspected Miller and Mr Adams of being involved.

Prosecutors will now determine whether Mr Greer is protected under California law, which allows homeowners to defend themselves if in imminent danger of serious injury or death.