Off-duty police officer fatally shoots intruder in his Andorra home

One man is dead and another suspect has been apprehended after invading the Andorra home of an off-duty Warminster police officer.

Police said the Warminster officer, along with his wife and four children, were asleep in the family’s home on the 8700 block of Sagamore Road in Andorra at approximately 3:50 a.m. Monday, when the officer witnessed a suspect attempting to take his Honda Odyssey minivan, and ran outside to confront him.

Returning to the home, the officer reportedly saw an open window and a crowbar. He confronted a second intruder in a first-floor bedroom and opened fire, striking the burglar multiple times, police said.

Neighbors reported hearing as many as nine gunshots.

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Police said the intruder was pronounced dead at 4:12 a.m., and his body was removed from the scene by 5th District officers at approximately 10:20 a.m. 

On Monday afternoon, police officials identified the deceased as Edward Mehlberger, 39, of the 3100 block of Custer Street.  Mehlberger has an extensive arrest record dating to 1991, containing theft, burglary and narcotics charges, among others.

The unwounded intruder fled in the officer’s minivan, police said, – reportedly equipped with Fraternal Order of Police tags – that neighbors say was abandoned in the vicinity of Old Line Road and Manatawna Avenue by the suspect, who then fled on foot.

The suspect was pursued and apprehended by members of the neighboring Springfield Township Police Department, who transferred the suspect to the PPD, police said.

The suspect, Tim Zgrzepski, 29, of the 2600 block of Kensington Ave., was said by PPD officials to have 22 prior arrests, which court records indicate include charges for robbery, theft, and, notably, the unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

PPD officials are withholding the name of the Warminster officer.

Warminster Chief of Police Michael Murphy was unable to confirm the identity of his officer or other career details, but said that the officer had “significant experience,” having served as a police officer for over 10 years.

While PPD homicide detectives are tasked with the investigation, it is unlikely that the Warminster officer will face charges. In 2011, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signed an expanded version of the so-called “Castle Doctrine,” which provides additional rights to residents in protecting their homes and property.

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