Gypsy Wayne Watts

An elderly Pine County man shot and killed an armed intruder in his home in the early morning hours of Nov. 14, and a second alleged intruder now has criminal charges filed against him.

According to documents filed in Pine County Court, Charles Carlson was sleeping on the porch of his home near Sandstone when he was awakened by someone going through the porch and entering his kitchen.

Carlson told law enforcement that he first thought it was his friend and house guest, who was spending the night upstairs in Carlson’s home.

Instead, he found Gypsy Wayne Watts, 23, who raised a .22 caliber revolver and pointed it at his head. Carlson said he could see the rounds in each of the chambers of the revolver.

He said he started to act “like he didn’t know was going on, and feigned being blind and hard of hearing,” according to court documents.

He saw a second individual run off from the kitchen area into the yard. Carlson said that Watts then lowered his weapon and started speaking to him. This gave Carlson the opportunity to grab his own loaded handgun.

Carlson said he pointed his gun at Watts and told him to get on his knees and put his hands behind his head; he then started yelling for his friend sleeping upstairs to call 911.

According to court documents, he said that Watts began “fidgeting” and started to stand up. Carlson said he told Watts not stand up, but Watts “swept the contents of the table onto the ground towards him and began walking towards him.”

He said that as Watts came toward him he said, “Don’t do it, don’t do it,” but Watts kept walking forward. Then Carlson fired his pistol, shooting Watts in the leg.

Carlson told deputies that Watts began to run for the door, and he yelled at Watts to stop. Carlson said that Watts turned around and began reaching for the gun in his left pocket. Carlson fired his pistol again, shooting Watts in the head.

Carlson’s friend called 911, and deputies soon arrived at the house.

According to Pine County Chief Deputy Steven Blackwell, Carlson was examined for injuries.

“He was unhurt, but we had an ambulance up there to keep him warm and just to check him out and make sure he was OK,” Blackwell said. “He does have some chronic medical issues.”

Deputies and investigators searched the area for the second suspect with the assistance of the Minnesota State Patrol helicopter. The suspect was not located.

However, investigation led deputies to believe that a Pine County 16-year-old was the other suspect who entered the house.

The teenager eventually contacted law enforcement and met with investigators. He said that he and Watts decided to rob Carlson because they believed he had cash and prescription painkillers on hand.

The teenager said he and Watts took a friend’s van without his permission and went to Carlson’s house wearing latex gloves, and said that Watts was carrying a revolver. He said they entered and began searching the house, stealing some cash before Carlson awoke.

According to court documents, the teenager said he saw Watts point the gun at Carlson’s head “numerous times.” The teenager then fled the house, took the van, and abandoned it between Sandstone and Hinckley.

The teenager was arrested, and criminal charges filed against him, but his identity is not being released by law enforcement unless he is to be tried as an adult.

Blackwell said he did not believe that any charges would be filed against Carlson in the case.

“I would say that we’re not seeing any indication of wrongdoing by the homeowner,” Blackwell said. “He was lying there, sleeping, and these guys came in the house. He basically woke up, and there was a young guy pointing a gun at him.”

Mike Gainor is editor of a Times’ sister paper, the Pine City Pioneer. For questions or comments about this article, contact editor@pinecitymn.com.