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Shooting targets sex-offender's home

7-14-2006 Utah:

Police in St. George are investigating a drive-by shooting at the home of a man who they believe was targeted because he is registered sex offender.

Officers said the 29-year-old man was putting his baby to bed about 10 p.m. Monday when he heard a shot.

"He hears a shatter and a boom and puts down his baby to go see what's going on," St. George Police Sgt. Craig Harding said Tuesday. "The outside pane of his double pane window is shattered. He heard a loud noise of (the car) leaving the area."

Shotgun pellets were found outside the home. Police said had the man been in the room and the shotgun blast gone through the window, the baby could have been injured or killed.

Police believe the man's home was shot at because he is a convicted sex offender and listed on Utah's sex offender registry. Court records show the man was convicted in April 2006 of forcible sex abuse, a second-degree felony. He was sentenced to probation and ordered to serve weekends in the Purgatory Jail.

The man told police that since his conviction, he has been intimidated and harassed. Recently, police said someone vandalized the man's power box outside his home.

Officers said despite the man's criminal past, they do not need vigilantes targeting sex offenders.

"He's caught between a rock and a hard place," Harding said. "When you've got people like this coming forward with a shotgun to administer a little street justice, I can see why sex offenders don't want to register." ..more.. by Ben Winslow Deseret Morning News

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