Retired officer holds break-in suspect at gunpoint

Retired police officer Thomas Patterson
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A burglar hiding inside a house got a lot more than he expected when he was confronted by the armed homeowner with years of experience carrying a gun.

Strange noises tipped off homeowner Thomas Patterson, a retired police officer. He says he remembered his police training, which may have saved the burglar's life.

Patterson usually makes it a habit to lock his garage door, but the one time he forgot, he got an unwanted visitor.

"The first thing he did was went in my basement," Patterson said.

Around 6 a.m. Monday, Patterson heard noises in his sleep. So the calm, cool and collected 71-year-old retired officer did what any policeman would likely do.

"I got my gun out of the drawer and opened the door. The man, I could see him trying to duck into the closet in the next room and I just told him, 'Come out of there, bud'," Patterson said.

Police say the suspect turned out to be 22-year-old Dewey Devoe. When Patterson confronted Devoe, he gave him clear orders while holding him at gunpoint.

"I said, you know, 'Get in front of me and go down the hallway,' and I put him in a chair and said 'Sit there and do not move' and called 911," Patterson said. "If he had charged me or displayed a weapon or made a patting motion, I would have shot him."

The retired officer lives on Indy's southwest side, where they don't see a lot of early morning break-ins. Patterson says he is somewhat glad it was him and not one of his neighbors who crossed paths with the 22-year-old suspect.

"I have neighbors who told me right away, he would have started shooting immediately," Patterson said.

He says his garage will be shut, locked and secured to keep any future burglars from showing up at his house.

Devoe spent time in jail after a 2010 arrest. This time, police found drugs and cash on him. Patterson says Devoe apologized for the break-in.