MELBOURNE, FLORIDA — On the night of July 10, 2013, Bobby Lee Culler organized a “military style” home invasion of a family’s residence on Pepper Ave. Upon approach, the homeowner’s dogs alerted him to the presence of armed men dressed in black. Police reports confirm that the three armed intruders made it into the home where a woman and her child were in the living room. Shielding her child, the woman prepared for the worst as one of the armed intruders pointed a handgun with what appeared to be a silencer attached. The homeowner awoke to the commotion and quickly opened fire on the intruders – striking Bobby Lee Culler in the arm. Police allege that Culler and his crew quickly fled but Culler and one other associate were later picked up by authorities.
According to the police, they believed he thought there would be drugs and money kept in the home. What Culler got, in actuality, was a trip to the hospital and, today, a life sentence from the judge.
But this wasn’t Culler’s first time around the home invasion block. According to Cmdr. Dan Lynch, spokesman for the Melbourne Police Department, “He’s been on our radar a lot.”
“(Culler) was pretty dangerous. He and the others planned this home invasion with military-style tactics,” Lynch said.
And by testimony and evidence, it appears Culler had no problem getting his hands on advanced firearm components such as silencers. It’s a situation that could have ended poorly for the homeowner and his family. Good thing the homeowner was armed!
It was Culler’s blood splatter from being struck in the arm by a bullet which would later be the damning evidence linking him to the scene of the crime. If the homeowner hadn’t hit him, this case may have gone much differently.
Melbourne police were quick to exonerate the homeowner for his use of a firearm in defending his family and property. Following the sentencing today, Culler is awaiting transfer to state prison where he is expected to remain for the rest of his natural born life.
As for the homeowner, if he hadn’t been prepared it could have all too easily turned into a similar situation that went down in Palm Bay, Florida. Only a year ago, another home invasion occurred in West Melbourne’s Oak Grove neighborhood. Three assailants – the leader of which being a previously convicted felon on bond pending his next trial – stormed the home of 22 year old James Thomas Wynn and ended his life. While the main culprit, Michael Christopher Maxwell was eventually charged and imprisoned – what use is that after a man is killed in his own home?
Is anyone left arguing that criminals have a hard time getting access to firearms?
Based upon reports, it seems home invaders are only becoming more sophisticated and brutal about their attacks – sometimes far less interested in burglarizing a place as much as killing. Who wants to be stuck at the mercy of such villainy?
For seasoned criminals like Maxwell and Culler, violent home invasions with illegally obtained firearms is the norm. For law-abiding citizens trying to protect their families and property, it isn’t. Are you prepared to handle a home invasion? Tell us about it in the comments section below.