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Utah man apologizes for shooting at burglar

| Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, 9:48 p.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — A northern Utah man who drew support from other residents after he was arrested for shooting at a suspected burglar who was fleeing his property apologized during a court appearance on Tuesday for taking matters into his own hands.

Clare Niederhauser, 64, made the comments after agreeing to a plea deal that included a reduced charge. He also agreed to pay a $700 fee, take a weapons class and forfeit the weapon he used, a .357 caliber handgun.

Niederhauser told the judge in the Layton city courtroom that he acted the way he thought he should but “should have known better.”

Layton police arrested Niederhauser Jan. 31 after he fired two rounds at a suspected burglar and getaway driver leaving his home. No one was hurt, but police said the shots were unlawful because the burglar had dropped a crowbar he was carrying and was fleeing the property. The shots could have endangered somebody's life, police said.

Niederhauser's attorney, Mitch Vilos, and Layton Assistant City Attorney Steve Garside deemed the plea deal fair for both sides. Niederhauser pleaded guilty to discharge of weapon, a class B misdemeanor, and will have to give up his concealed weapons permit for a time.

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