LONGMONT — A bleeding, drunken man stumbling home after a motorcycle accident was shot Wednesday morning by the owner of a house he mistakenly entered, according to the Weld County Sheriff’s Office.
According to the sheriff’s office, 19-year-old Nathan Weathers was in a single-vehicle motorcycle accident sometime early Wednesday morning near Weld County Roads 5 and 26.
Without notifying the authorities, the injured and intoxicated Weathers then traveled a half-mile from the scene of the accident, presumably on foot, and entered the home at 2173 Meadowlark Place through a window off the back porch, investigators said.
According to Weld County records, the home, owned by James and Cheryl Haflich, is a block away from where Weathers lives with his father at 2133 Blue Mountain Road in the Meadow Vale subdivision off Weld County Road 51/2, east of Longmont. The houses are each on the east side of their respective streets and are both one house from a corner.
Weld County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Margie Martinez said Cheryl Haflich was getting ready for work at around 4 a.m. when she heard Weathers trying to enter through the window. She alerted her husband, and they both yelled for Weathers to get out, but he entered the house, Martinez said. James Haflich then fired three shots with his 9 mm handgun, one of which hit Weathers, she said.
The Haflichs called 911, and Weathers was taken to Longmont United Hospital, where he was in serious condition in the intensive care unit Wednesday, according to the sheriff’s office. Investigators have not said whether the first two shots were fired in warning, or where the one bullet hit Weathers.
“The bullet wound was not life-threatening,” Martinez said. “He’s probably in critical condition from the motorcycle accident.”
A family spokesman, contacted at the hospital, said the family did not want to comment Wednesday.
Martinez also said she didn’t believe Weathers was armed when he entered the house.
“I don’t think ‘Make My Day’ requires that,” she said of the Colorado law that allows homeowners to shoot intruders under certain circumstances.
The Haflichs declined to comment.
The sheriff’s office said it is not recommending that the Weld County District Attorney’s office file charges against the Haflichs, but is recommending that Weathers be charged with trespassing, traffic violations and driving under the influence.
On March 25, Longmont police arrested Weathers and prosecutors charged him with third-degree assault, child abuse without causing injury and obstructing telephone service. He pleaded not guilty to all char ges April 15, and the case is pending.
Weathers, whose mother, Sydney, died in 1996, graduated from Skyline High School in 2004.
Tom Stumpf, the school’s principal, remembered him as a “good kid, a well-meaning kid and a sincere kid” who enjoyed life. In high school, Weathers was optimistic, social and friendly, Stumpf said. He also was an honor student and played football at Skyline, Stumpf said.
“Nathan and I got along well together,” he said.
Stumpf did not know if Weathers is attending college, he said.
Neighbors describe the Meadow Vale subdivision — where half-million-dollar homes sit on 1- to 1.5 acre lots — as a quiet and safe neighborhood.
Marisa Burt, who lives two houses down from the Haflichs on the same cul-de-sac, was surprised to learn about the break-in but not about the Haflichs’ armed response.
“You never know. That’s why you shouldn’t break into people’s houses,” she said.
Buzz Goldman, who lives a few blocks away on Weld County Road 51/2, wasn’t sure what to think of the incident that shook the subdivision.
“I don’t know if I could shoot somebody,” he said. “I don’t know. If I was scared ... but probably not. I’d let (intruders) take whatever they wanted but just leave me alone.”
Another neighbor, who wouldn’t give his name, said he felt for both the Haflich and Weathers families.
“(Hurting someone) violates the basis of your soul and your life,” he said. “No one likes to hurt anyone. But you also have a responsibility to your family.
“I know how to and am not afraid to use weapons myself. But I hope I never have to.”
Ben Ready can be reached at 303-684-5326, or by e-mail at email@example.com.