The Vancouver Major Crime Unit is investigating after police said a homeowner shot a suspected prowler in his backyard Wednesday morning, killing the suspect.

Officers responded at 5:23 a.m. to a disturbance reported at a home in the 14500 block of Northeast 49th circle.

At the scene, police learned the homeowner, identified as former Vancouver mayoral candidate Steven R. Cox, was awakened by a prowler, identified as 30-year-old Ryan J. Anderson of Ridgefield, who was in the home’s fenced backyard. Police said Cox armed himself with a gun and confronted Anderson outside.

A physical altercation occurred between the two, with Cox firing one round at Anderson, according to police. Anderson was hit and transported to an area hospital, and late Wednesday afternoon, police confirmed he died from his injuries.

Until recently, Cox was a candidate in the upcoming Vancouver mayoral election. A retired U.S. lieutenant colonel, he withdrew from the race and several community positions late last month, according to his campaign website.

Robert Owens is both a friend and neighbor of Cox's. He said the people living in the neighborhood watch out for each other and that he is proud of his friend.

“You know, you're protecting your home, your family,” Owens told FOX 12. “If I would have heard what was going on I would have been out there helping you out as well.”

Owens said there have been a couple incidents in the neighborhood recently, including one where his wife was almost cornered.

“After that instance, I was able to teach my wife how to fire a gun,” he noted. “I'm very pro-gun. I'm prior Army myself, so we have lots of training on self-defense. and will not let any of my family or my friend or my neighbors go down without a fight.”

Police are investigating the shooting but have not said if any charges will be filed in this incident.

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