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Daley won't say if 80-year-old will be charged under gun ban


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Mayor Richard Daley refused to say today whether an 80-year-old Army veteran who shot and killed an intruder will be charged under the city's handgun ban.

Asked about the possibility of charges, the mayor ended a news conference he had called about summer curfew in the city.

"I don't know. Thank you very much," Daley said and stepped away from the microphone.

Before walking away, Daley acknowledged people's frustration over the issue of gun control but insisted "I don't think the answer is guns."

The homeowner was asleep with his 83-year-old wife and 12-year-old great-grandson when Anthony Nelson -- a parolee with a record of drug and gun arrests -- tried breaking into their East Garfield Park home, police say.

Nelson died from a gunshot wound to the chest, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office, which said Nelson died in a homicide--the death of a person at the hands of another person.

The homeowner told investigators that Nelson fired twice before he fired back. The homeowner had bought the gun after being robbed in his home last fall, according to relatives. Police questioned the man for several hours and released him without filing charges, though officials say the investigation is continuing.

The Cook County state's attorney's office has said it has not been contacted regarding pressing charges against the homeowner, but police would be able to charge the homeowner with a misdemeanor crime--such as a violation of city ordinance--without approval from the state's attonrey's office.

The man has been hailed as a hero by his family and neighbors, but Daley cautioned that "guns is not the answer to the problems that we see in a home, in the streets of America. It's as simple as that.

"I think everybody understands the frustration that people have in regards to guns, and that's an instance, and I think we understand that," Daley said. "But again, the access to guns in America, the access today is higher today than at any period of time in America."

Police today would say nothing more than that two guns were found at the scene of the home invasion, and that the homeowner has not been charged, but that the investigation is continuing.

-- John Byrne, Liam Ford

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