An Army veteran was shot Sunday morning when he tried to stop what he believes was a car burglary in progress outside his Forest Park home.
It was just after 4:10 a.m. when 32-year-old Ethan Lann walked out of his home at The Windsor Apartments to go to his Jeep to go to work.
Lann, who said the neighborhood has been plagued with vehicle break-ins for more than a year, saw a group of possible thieves casing out cars. When he saw what was happening, he yelled, “Hey.”
Within seconds, he was taking gunfire.
“The very first pop I heard, I felt my shin get hit with something,’’ Lann said.
Lann dropped to the ground and took cover behind a tree. He said eight more shots were fired at him while he was taking cover.
“The two gunmen continued to fire on him even though he was wounded and taking cover,’’ neighbor Janis La Velle wrote in a GoFundMe launched for Lann.
“They didn’t want to injure. Their aim was to kill someone for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
“That is just a horrific story and has no place in our community,’’ La Velle wrote.
Lann was able to make his way to a stairwell and got behind a brick wall. He said the group of suspected thieves left a short time later.
He said it’s not the first time he’s confronted possible thieves in the neighborhood but said usually they just run off. “Once I realized I was shot, I was just worried about getting the paramedics here,’’ he said.
Lann was taken to the hospital. “I’ve got a shattered .45 caliber in my leg because the hospital was unable to safely remove all but two pieces,’’ he said.
Lann can’t put any weight on his leg and is expected to be out of work for an extended period of time while he recovers. He is a locksmith, and the only representative for his company in this area.
But he is equally upset at the ongoing theft problem in his neighborhood. He said he believes it is the same group of people carrying out the crimes that have been taking place since last year.
“I think we have turned over video to the Birmingham Police Department three times,’’ he said. “I can’t say nothing is being done, but I can’t see any fruits of their labor.”
Lann said he was shocked that he was immediately met with gunfire.
“It doesn’t seem like they care much about life at all,’’ he said.
He said the brazen attack worries him because he lives in an area where foot traffic is popular, such as moms strolling their children. He hopes something can be done to catch the suspects.
“It doesn’t even take you posing a threat,’’ he said. “Your sheer presence is going to be met with hostility.”
Police have not announced any arrests in the case.
His neighbor started the GoFundMe to help Lann with medical bills and living expenses while he is recovering. He lives with his girlfriend and his service dog, Chewy. Donations can be made here.
“Ethan served overseas in OEF (Operation Enduring Freedom) without being wounded physically,’’ La Velle wrote, “to have all this violence to unveil right out his front door on a Sunday morning.”
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