Authorities in Genesee County say a man fatally shot a neighbor early Tuesday morning in the Town of LeRoy and set his own house on fire.
The suspect, 53-year-old Kyle Johnson, has been charged with second-degree murder, arson, burglary and reckless endangerment.
County sheriff Gary Maha says Johnson entered the unlocked 7421 Selden Road home of 69-year-old Norman “Don” Ball around 3:50 a.m. and shot Ball in the head with a 12-gauge shotgun as he was sleeping. He then fled on foot. Neighbors were instructed to shelter in place.
Maha says a roommate found Ball dead in a downstairs bedroom. The roommate went next door where Ball's son resides to inform him of the shooting. The son then called 911.
Then came a fire call for a home just up the road, a home belonging to the suspect. When rescue crews arrived, little did they know an armed standoff would ensue.
"At approximately 4:15 a.m., Genesee County Emergency Dispatch received a call from a neighbor of a house fire at 7324 Seldon Road," Sheriff Maha told reporters in a Tuesday afternoon news conference. "On responding, when LeRoy Fire Chief and Village of LeRoy Police responded to the home, the suspect fired a shotgun in their direction."
No injuries were reported but it was believed the suspect was attempting to commit “suicide by cop.”
"It was definitely in my mind, he was looking to get shot," said Jon Marcello, a next-door neighbor. "At one point he did look at one of the officers and said 'what are you waiting for?' I didn't think it was going to end peacefully, to be honest with you."
Police say Johnson ignored repeated commands to drop his weapon as he paced around the premises. Armored SWAT vehicles arrived soon thereafter. He surrendered his shotgun and was taken into custody around 7:55 a.m. without incident.
Authorities are not saying what the motive for the killing might be or how the two men knew each other. They says Johnson does have a history of mental illness.