The owner of a Pompano Beach car dealership is facing an attempted murder charge after authorities say he shot a teen who burglarized his business.
Jonas Charles, 34, the owner of JC Best Auto Sales, is charged with shooting the 15-year-old during the May 23 burglary at the business at 1921 N. Dixie Highway, Broward Sheriff's Office officials said Wednesday.
Charles wasn't listed in Broward Jail records Wednesday. He refused to answer questions from reporters Wednesday afternoon.
"I can't say nothing right now," he said.
Police said Charles had armed himself and recruited some friends to help watch over the business after burglars had stolen keys to all of the cars for sale the night before.
Charles and his friends waited several hours for the burglars to return but by shortly before 2 a.m., all but one friend had left. At that point, four burglars arrived at the business in a car stolen the night before and headed for a Nissan Rogue, the BSO said.
Charles confronted the burglars, who scattered as Charles fired several shots from a handgun in their direction, the BSO said. He was able to corner two of them, the 15-year-old and a 13-year-old, and dialed 911.
"Please don't shoot me," the 15-year-old said as he put up his hands, witnesses told detectives.
But authorities said Charles shot the 15-year-old once in the abdomen. Dispatchers heard the teen say, "You shot me, bro," the BSO said.
Charles chased the injured teen, yelling at him and firing another shot while on an open line with the BSO dispatcher, authorities said.
Deputies arrived as Charles was chasing the teen, authorities said. The teen was taken to Broward Health Medical Center, where he survived his injuries.
According to the BSO, Charles initially denied having a gun or shooting the burglar, instead blaming one of his friends, but eventually admitted to the shooting.
Charles was charged with attempted murder. Both teens will face burglary charges.
The owner of the property, Ken Phillips, said he didn't see an issue with what Charles did.
"Look, people come in and try to steal your property, you’ve got to defend yourself,” said Phillips. “That’s the American way. I don’t know why all of the sudden it’s become an issue."
The burglary from the night before the shooting is under investigation. The BSO says the burglars stole two vehicles and a laptop.