Homeowner shoots, kills man during burglary attempt

Burglary suspect's sister says brother was 'good guy'

MIAMI – A burglary suspect was shot and killed Thursday morning at a home in northwest Miami-Dade. 

According to Miami-Dade County police, Ernest Holdman tried to burglarize a home at Northwest 112th Street and 18th Avenue. Neighbors said Holdman, 31, climbed onto the roof of a trailer and tried stealing the homeowner's yard tools.

Dennis Law, the 49-year-old homeowner, then shot Holdman, police say. He was dead when police arrived.

"He's a good guy, you know," said Lynn Eason, Holdman's sister. "He never really hurt nobody or went out of his way to be mean or nasty to anybody. Maybe he did get caught in the wrong situation, but I think it could have been handled differently, better than that."

"He wasn't armed. I mean, law equipment?" said Melissa Jones, a friend of Holdman. "It doesn't make no sense to kill somebody for a weedwacker that cost $110. C'mon. That's somebody life."

Eason described the situation as "Hell. Just hell," but said she understood why it happened.

"I don't really know what side I fall on," she said. "It's different when the shoe is on the other foot."

"You have to suffer the consequences," said Frank Hall. "I find it unnerving because you work hard for things you achieved and folks want to come in and take the things that you've worked so hard for."

Neighbors said they heard a car alarm going off, then three to four gunshots. 

"It's scary because you hear those shots," said Willie Johnson, a neighbor. "It's real scary."

"My dad told me somebody shot somebody outside so I had to stay in my bed," said Laura-Lee Chailotin.

"It was a 'Pow! Pow! Pow!' and then it was a final one," said Johnson. "Pow!"

One neighbor told Local 10's Tamika Bickham the area has been the subject of several burglaries in recent weeks. 

"My neighbor right next to me, they removed her tires, all four tires one morning. When they woke up, the car was on blocks," said Hall. "I've also had a break in my home twice since I've been here."

Holdman lived about 10 blocks southwest of Law's home, police say.

The State Attorney's Office is investigating.