Retired trooper shoots intruder in Bluffton home, Sheriff's Office reports

November 14, 2012 

A retired state Highway Patrol officer shot an intruder who entered his home in greater Bluffton at 2 a.m. this morning, according to the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office.

The intruder, identified as 39-year-old Paul Rowell, was in the main entry hall and was pronounced dead at the scene, a news release said.

Former trooper William Wise, 51, told deputies he had shot an intruder in his home on Palmetto Bluff Road. Wise said he and his wife were awoken by their dogs suddenly barking. Wise grabbed a flashlight and looked outside the front door, the release said, and he saw Rowell, whom he didn’t know, exit a truck parked in front of his home.

Rowell approached, and Wise retrieved a handgun and told Rowell to leave, the release said.

“Wise warned Rowell he was armed, Rowell continued to insist on coming inside. Wise then discharged a round in the air in hopes of dissuading Rowell. Instead, Rowell attacked Wise, assaulting him and attempting to take Wise’s gun,” according to the release.

“The two men continued to struggle as Rowell forced his way into the home, at which time Wise fired several shots, striking and killing Rowell. Wise sustained no injuries as a result of the attack.

“The reason for Rowell’s appearance at the home remains unknown at this time. It is believed that Rowell may have been the same suspect involved in a report of suspicious activity that had occurred at a nearby home approximately 30 minutes prior to the shooting.”

The release said deputies met with a complainant on Joe Houston Lane who said a suspicious man had followed him home, driving a truck matching the description of the truck driven by Rowell. Rowell “had approached the victim in a bizarre and aggressive manner and repeatedly threatened to kill him. The victim maintained his distance and told the subject he was calling 911 at which time the subject returned to the truck and left the area.”

The investigation remains active. Further details will be released as they become available, the release said.

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