Neighbors, police seek answers after CU student breaks into home, shot dead

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BOULDER, Colo. -- An intruder who broke into a Boulder home Monday night and paid for it with his life was identified as a CU student Tuesday.

Roberto Zamora, 19, of Boulder broke into the home at 98 Pima Court about 8:40 p.m. when the home’s owner shot him dead, according to investigators.

Now, we’re learning the student caused a commotion among other neighbors in his last minutes alive.

“Three really loud bangs,” is what neighbor Brock Derby heard from his upstairs bedroom next to the home where the intruder died.

The sanctuary of home was shattered by a stranger.

“I thought someone was trying to break into my truck. So, I looked outside and that’s when I saw a man. He was running straight into the door with a sprint,” says Derby.

Derby, a CU student, said he saw the bald man, now identified as Zamora, crash through the glass door of the home next door.

“I was wondering if I needed a weapon of my own when I heard the gunshots. That’s when I realized I can’t find one, I need a phone instead,” he said.

Police said once inside the home, the intruder got into a fistfight with the homeowner who shot in the chest.

Police said he may have been within his rights.

“People have the right to feel safe and secure in their own private dwellings. That law gives them the right to use deadly force against anyone who they feel is threatening to harm them,” said Kim Kobel, spokesperson with the Boulder Police Department.

And he may have been trying to harm others.

“This person was banging on several doors and windows. So, that’s a little scary.”

Police confirmed they got calls about an intruder trying to break into a number of homes.

But they don’t yet know why.

“That’s part of what we are trying to find out today, is what happened leading up to disturbances in the cul de sac,” Kobel said.

They're disturbances that ended with gunshots at a home most would have left alone.

“When you see a giant elk head on the wall, next to a gun safe, you gotta know the guy is probably packing,” Derby said.

Neighbors identify the home’s owner as Jim McCain.

They speak highly of him—saying he’s very helpful—plowing snow and helping when the neighborhood suffered flood damage.

It will be up to the Boulder District Attorney on whether to charge the homeowner. That decision is probably a couple of days away.

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