Updated: May 20
From the Associated Press:
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (AP) — Murder charges were filed Tuesday against a Tennessee man accused of breaking into a suburban Chicago home with an accomplice who was fatally shot by the homeowner.
Bradley Finnan, 39, of Chattanooga is being held without bond on murder and home invasion charges for the alleged attack Saturday that left Larry Brodacz, 58, of Buffalo Grove, Illinois, dead.
Cook County prosecutors told a judge that Finnan and Brodacz were armed with a gun when they rang the doorbell of the home in Arlington Heights and pushed their way in during an apparent robbery attempt. Brodacz was fatally shot when he attacked the homeowner with a knife, prosecutors said. Finnan was arrested shortly after fleeing the home.
Following his capture Sunday, Finnan told investigators Brodacz claimed he’d seen $200,000 cash in boxes in the home 20 years ago and believed the money was still there, prosecutors said. Finnan told investigators he knew Brodacz from a car dealership where they both worked.
The homeowner later told investigators he opened the door to the two men expecting to greet landscapers. Prosecutors said that as the homeowner fought Finnan, the other intruder went after the man’s wife and two children, who fled to an upstairs bedroom.
After fighting off Finnan, the homeowner retrieved his own gun and fatally shot Brodacz in the abdomen. Finnan is being held under an Illinois statute that allows murder charges against suspects if they take part in a felony offense that leads to another person’s death.
Pay attention to one detail that should stand out:
“Following his capture Sunday, Finnan told investigators Brodacz claimed he’d seen $200,000 cash in boxes in the home 20 years ago and believed the money was still there, prosecutors said. Finnan told investigators he knew Brodacz from a car dealership where they both worked.”
They knew each other and it appears the perp was desperate to get his hands on money that he saw 20 years ago. The home owner had something the bad guy wanted. Why is that a big deal? Because some things should just stay private. That is NOT what Moms Demand Action believes, though:
We talked to the local chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America for tips on how to make the potentially awkward conversation about guns a bit less so, and to learn what the important questions are to ask.
What to Ask
Do you have guns in the home? Obvious, yes. But that’s not the only question you should ask.
Will there be others in the home who carry guns? Frequent visitors, like relatives or neighbors, may have a permit to carry concealed.
How are the guns kept? If a family owns a gun, that gun should be kept locked and unloaded, with the ammunition kept in a separate location.
In a nutshell, they advocate for letting strangers ask about firearms in the home, how they’re stored, where they’re stored. So, further down the road, a potential one-time play date parent (who might have a few marbles loose) will know who owns guns and who doesn’t. Not only does this information put the homeowner at risk of theft when they’re not home, it also COULD lead to a confrontation in a situation like what happened in Arlington Heights, as desperate people might resort to violence to get what they want. Point is, gun ownership is your own business and if people ask about it, decline to comment if you don’t feel comfortable doing so. The element of surprise in a dangerous situation is often the best defense.