News

Homeowner shoots suspected burglar

San Benito County Sheriff’s deputies found a man lying on the street and took him to jail after being treated at a Salinas hospital.
Sherriff's deputies found Ocean Burger, 18, with a gunshot wound to the leg at the 3300 block of Cienega Road. Photo by John Chadwell.
Sherriff's deputies found Ocean Burger, 18, with a gunshot wound to the leg at the 3300 block of Cienega Road. Photo by John Chadwell.
Ocean Burger, 18, only made it a short distance from the gated community before he collapsed beside the road. Google Earth photo by John Chadwell.
Ocean Burger, 18, only made it a short distance from the gated community before he collapsed beside the road. Google Earth photo by John Chadwell.

San Benito County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Ocean Burger, 18, on suspicion of burglary and possession of burglary tools on May 10.

According to a news release, Burger was shot in the leg by a homeowner after he failed to comply with multiple orders to leave the property.  

Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the 3300 block of Cienega Road around 6 a.m. and found Burger lying on the roadway with a gunshot wound to his leg. Burger is a resident of Hollister’s Southside Estates.

According to the news release, which did not identify the homeowner and she declined to state her name to BenitoLink, she was asleep in her home on Montebello Court and alone with her children. Her husband was not home at the time. She awoke to the sounds of someone rummaging through her closet. She confronted an intruder, later identified as Burger, in her walk-in closet. He also had numerous items of her property in a bag. 

Burger was treated and released from Natividad Medical Center in Salinas and later booked into San Benito County Jail. 

The homeowner confirmed the deputies’ report that she found Burger, who she said she did not know, inside the walk-in closet, and confronted him. She said she warned him several times to leave and because he was armed with “several knives” she feared for her life and shot him. 

“She was a mamma bear protecting her children,” her husband said, telling BenitoLink they have two young children. 

Capt. Eric Taylor, who was appointed as interim Sheriff and Coroner, effective in June, said the homeowner shot Burger with a .357-magnum handgun and he was fortunate that he did not bleed out before deputies found him. He said Burger told investigators that he did not think the homeowner would shoot him. Taylor also told BenitoLink that people were speculating on Facebook that Burger was a transient and blaming the department for clearing homeless out of the San Benito River. He said that was not the case.

The couple said they were still trying to determine how Burger entered their home. Taylor said it was most likely through an unlocked back door.

After being shot, Burger apparently left the gated community and made it only a hundred yards north of Montebello Court before collapsing near a barn along the side of Cienega Road, where yellow crime-scene tape was still visible at noon. 

Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to call (831) 636-4080, or email Detective Sergeant Bryan Penney at [email protected]

 

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John Chadwell

John Chadwell is a BenitoLink reporter and an author. He has many years experience as a freelance photojournalist, copywriter, ghostwriter, scriptwriter and novelist. He is a former U.S. Navy Combat Photojournalist and is an award-winning writer who has worked for magazine, newspapers, radio and television. He has a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from Chapman University and underwent graduate studies at USC Cinema School. John has worked as a script doctor and his own script, God's Club, was released as a motion picture in 2016. He has also written eight novels, ranging from science fiction to true crime that are sold on Amazon. To contact John Chadwell, send an email to: [email protected]