St. Pete woman shoots man breaking into her home

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Police say a St. Petersburg woman shot a man who was breaking into her home on Thursday morning.

Mary Starling Shirley saw the man coming into a side window of her home around 6:13 a.m.

“You look at this stuff on TV, you never think it’s going to happen to you,” said Shirley.

She was armed and ready when Timothy Scott Tugman, 48, broke into her home on 24th Avenue South.

St. Petersburg Police said she was on her computer when she heard a noise.

Detectives say Tugman was trying to raise the window.

“She does not know this man.  She’s never seen him before.  She issues a warning, ‘don’t come in my house, I have a gun,’” said Rick Shaw, with the St. Petersburg Police Department.

Tugman ignored the warnings and continued to climb in.

Police said Shirley reached for her revolver and fired two shots.

Neighbor Jordan Rivers said he’s glad she was able to protect herself.

“That’s how you supposed to be, I’m trying to get my mom the same way. Anybody come in there, I want her to plug them,” he said.

Rivers said burglaries are common in this area.

“It is, what it is man, you just got to watch yourself. Be prepared for anything,” said Rivers.

Tugman ran off after being shot, but not too far from the home.

Police said Shirley did everything correctly.

“You got to think that if people are going to do crimes, sometimes other people on the other side, on the right side of the law have weapons and will defend themselves,” said Shaw.

Shirley she was glad she had the gun.

She said, “I’m still nervous, it was really scary. It really is scary. When you live by yourself, you have to have protection.”

Tugman was transported to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg and treated for a gunshot wound. He is expected to survive and will be charged with Occupied Residential Burglary.


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