Burglars had tried to break into George and Anna Marie Wyant’s home near Mint Hill at least twice, so they kept a pistol hidden in the house for protection, hoping they’d never have to use it.
On Tuesday, their 14-year-old grandson was visiting. He was sick with bronchitis, and Anna Marie, 73, had just had hip replacement surgery. They were taking care of each other while his mother and the rest of the family was at a Christmas party.
The teen was headed to the kitchen to make his grandmother a bowl of rice when they heard a back window break around 5:15 p.m.
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A few minutes later, Anna Marie Wyant told a 911 operator what had happened.
“The man was breaking into the window,” she told the operator. “He was halfway in the window. My grandson told him to stop and get out of here and he didn’t so my grandson shot him. ... Somebody just broke in the house and we shot him.”
The Wyants’ grandson can also be heard talking in the background: “I said ‘Who is it?’ and he wouldn’t stop. And he broke my – he broke my grandma’s window so I shot three times.”
Police have said they believe the fatal shooting Tuesday was justified. They say the teen was trying to protect himself and his grandmother. He has not been charged with a crime.
Investigators said Isai Robert Delcid, 18, was killed while he and his brother Carlos Delcid were trying to break into the rear of the Wyants’ home on Rolling Fields Road. The red brick home is in a neighborhood surrounded by Mint Hill that is unincorporated and served by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers. Carlos Delcid was in Mecklenburg jail charged with first-degree burglary.
Delcid’s family could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
A shattered glass window and a section of the deck that had been hit by a gunshot were visible Wednesday, hours after police had left the scene.
The family had faced violence before.
On April 11, 2008, the Wyants’ son-in-law and the 14-year-old’s father, Gregorio “Greg” Hernandez, was working on a car at Greg’s Automotive, the shop he operated on Albemarle Road. Neighbors reported hearing shots and the sound of squealing tires leaving the scene. Police arrived to find Hernandez, 35, shot to death.
“He was a mechanic,” George Wyant said. “It was his garage. Someone came in and shot him to death.”
Two years later, a jury found Victor Vasquez guilty of first-degree murder for Hernandez’s killing. Vasquez was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. A co-defendant, Alfonzo Caballero, pleaded guilty in connection with the crime.
The Wyants’ grandson was 8 years old when his father died, but the killing was one of the things that led the Wyants to teach all their grandchildren to handle a gun once they were old enough.
“I took him to a shooting range,” George Wyant said. “All the boys, I wanted them to learn gun safety. That’s what all of us should have for protection. These are different ages, and you have to protect yourself.”
Anna Marie Wyant said the teen is “his grandmother’s hero.”
“If I was by myself, God knows what they would have done to me,” she said.
The Observer’s Davie Hinshaw contributed.