TAMARAC, FLA. (WSVN) - An elderly homeowner in Tamarac said he called authorities when he discovered a man was trying to break into his home, but deputies did not stop the would-be intruder’s efforts, prompting an investigation into their response.
Speaking with 7News on Sunday, 70-year-old Bill Norkunas said the Nov. 7 ordeal took away his sense of security.
“I’m still trying to understand it,” he said.
Surveillance video captured the perpetrator outside Norkunas’ home, at around 10:20 p.m.
The homeowner, who is disabled and at the time was just out of the shower and unclothed, said he initially noticed him as he walked past a window.
“I came down here, and a complete stranger was trying to get into my house,” he said.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office identified the subject as 23-year-old Timothy Johnson of Fort Lauderdale.
The surveillance video shows Johnson trying to bust down Norkunas’ front door, slamming into it and repeatedly tugging on the handle.
“I yelled at him, ‘Go away!’ I put on the lights, and usually crooks, they run away,” said Norkunas.
But the homeowner said this crook did not leave.
“Then he started kicking the door, and then I had a handgun, and I pointed it at him through the glass, and I said, ‘Go, go!'” said Norkunas.
But the man didn’t go. Instead, Norkunas said, he doubled down on the destruction.
“He’s throwing rocks at the door! Get your officers here quick!” the homeowner told the 911 dispatcher.
“He reached down and picked up a brick paver, and he started to do this,” said Norkunas as he motioned as if he were striking the door.
Norkunas said Johnson slammed the paver at the door at least 18 times. He then proceeded to try to kick in the door again.
Thanks to the storm-proof glass, Johnson was unsuccessful.
“Meanwhile, I had called 911, and no sheriff came,” said Norkunas.
During the 911 call, the homeowner conveyed the urgency of the situation.
“Look at this! He’s working on the door to pull it open. If he opens it up, I’m going to shoot him,” he told the dispatcher.
More than a dozen armed BSO deputies later responded, but Norkunas said what frustrated him the most about the situation was that they never approached the man at his door.
“If the sheriff had come, if only the blue and white lights had come, and the sirens, I think maybe he would have run,” he said.
Area residents said they witnessed what happened and also called 911, some of them several times.
“I called earlier, and they said the police were on their way. There’s no police here yet,” said a woman who dialed 911.
“The operator told me that they were coming, and I said, ‘Why are they taking so long?'” said next-door neighbor Julio Fuentes.
“I live on the cul-de-sac. I don’t see any police anywhere,” said another caller.
Other neighbors said the 911 dispatcher said deputies were setting up a perimeter nearby.
Others said they saw several BSO cruisers about a block away from Norkunas’ home.
“Where are they? Where are they?” Norkunas asked the dispatcher.
“They’re there, sir. They’re on the other side of the lake,” replied the dispatcher.
“Where the hell are the cruisers?” asked Norkunas. “Come to my house. Please, please!”
Norkunas said he had to wait alone for about 15 minutes until Johnson finally gave up.
According to neighbors, Johnson eventually walked down the road and turned himself in to deputies.
“They took too long to come,” said Fuentes.
BSO spokesperson Gerdy St. Louis issued a statement that reads in part, “Within days of the incident in Tamarac, the Broward Sheriff’s Office began a thorough review into how the deputies on scene handled the response to this fluid and rapidly evolving situation.”
“My message to everyone else is, if there’s something terribly wrong, 911 is not going to be your answer,” said Norkunas.
Norkunas said there’s about $3,000 worth of damage to his front door. He added he’s just thankful to be alive and that he didn’t have to use deadly force.
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