Homeowner who shot arsonist talks to ABC15

Posted at 7:03 PM, Apr 08, 2016

A Peoria homeowner goes for his gun and pulls the trigger after waking up to find a man lighting his house on fire.

"I knew I got him in the house. I don't understand how he got up," said Dave Bowers. "A 357 with a hollow-point round is devastating."

Bowers says his house alarm went off and that's how he knew someone was in the house.

"I have just one entrance into the house and that's the back door. He came through the breezeway, turned the corner and he had a torch. By the time I got from the bedroom. He was already lighting the floor on fire," said Bowers.

Deputies and firefighters responded to Bower's home near 75th Avenue and Thunderbird early Thursday morning, but the fire had already done serious damage. 

Bowers went to get his gun, and that's when he claims the masked arsonist came at him.

"We were scuffling on the floor, he said 'Aren't you concerned about the fire?' But I wasn't going to give him the gun," said Bowers.

Bowers knew he had to pull the trigger.

"I think I emptied the gun. I fired once in the in the house. and five times as he went across the field," said Bowers.

The suspect ran off and was discovered by first responders just a few blocks away.

Bowers says he didn't know the suspect. He says investigators with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office told him that the bad guy just got out of jail two weeks ago, which is why he thinks he was targeted.

"I'm sure it is a contracted hit. Somebody wants the property," said Bowers.

And as he looks through everything that was lost, Bowers says he's not mad, but his heart hurts for Steve Krzyzewski. He was trapped in the house and later died at the hospital.

"I just hope that the day they bring that guy to trial, they remind the jurors how horrible it is to die in fire. Think about Steve dying in that fire. that's all I have to say," said Bowers.

Krzyzewski was one of five people renting rooms from Bowers, something he started doing after the 2008 recession hit as a way to help people who lost their homes.

The suspect remains in critical condition. MCSO investigators are still not releasing the suspect's name or possible motive.