GARFIELD — A homeowner who was charged with attempted murder after shooting a car burglar said he was only trying to protect his family.

Omar Smadiya, 37, confronted the thief in his car outside his Farnham Avenue home early Wednesday morning.

Acting Bergen County Prosecutor Dennis Calo said Smadiya shot Christopher Manon-Velez, 20, in the back as he was fleeing.

Manon-Velez ran to a nearby McDonald's before he was hospitalized. He suffered a exit wound in his chest, prosecutors said.

Smadiya was charged with first-degree attempted murder, second-degree possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes and fourth-degree possession a prohibited large-capacity weapon.

Manon-Velez, who was charged with burglary, admitted to having burglarized several vehicles in the area just prior to the shooting, prosecutors said.

Smadiya, a moving company owner and licensed gun owner, told CBS New York that he was concerned that the burglar may come after his wife and 1-year-old daughter with a weapon.

Smadiya said he did not aim carefully when he fired at Manon-Velez as he ran down the street. He said he didn’t realize the extent of the other man’s injuries for 12 hours until police were questioning him.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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