Burglar shoots Rowan man returning from Thanksgiving trip

slyttle@charlotteobserver.comDecember 3, 2013 

— A 25-year-old Rowan County man continued fighting for his life Tuesday morning in a Charlotte hospital after being shot Monday during an apparent confrontation with a burglar.

Marcus “Marco” Kauffman, who friends and family say is active in church ministry and in community groups, is in critical condition after being shot in the head in western Rowan County.

He and his wife, Maryann, were returning from a Thanksgiving weekend trip when the shooting took place.

Kauffman’s wife was not hurt, because investigators say he dropped her off at a neighbor’s house before going to his residence.

The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office says it is looking for clues and hoping the public can help investigators identify a suspect in the case.

Kauffman underwent surgery Monday night at Carolinas Medical Center and a Facebook page for him reported about 4:45 a.m. Tuesday that medical staff say “Marco’s progress is very good” and that surgery reduced pressure in the brain.

Investigators say Kauffman noticed something didn’t seem right when he and his wife returned about 10 a.m. Monday to their home in the 4200 block of Chenault Road, near the town of Cleveland. That is when he left his wife at a neighbor’s house and returned home.

A short time later, sheriff’s deputies say, someone called 911 and reported his home was being burglarized, and then said shots were being fired. After that, the call was cut off.

Deputies found Kauffman inside his 2004 Acura, which had crashed into a tree next to the house. Kauffman was airlifted to CMC.

When investigators went inside the home, they discovered that the house had been broken into and a number of items stolen.

Capt. John Sifford of the sheriff’s office says investigators are asking anyone who saw vehicles traveling in the area between 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. to contact them. He said they especially are interested in a teal or blue-colored car, possibly a Pontiac, that appeared to be broken down in the area.

A friend of Kauffman’s told WCNC-TV that Marcus and Maryann were married in 2012, and that Marcus Kauffman is a former firefighter with the Scotch Irish Volunteer Fire Department in western Rowan County.

The case had another twist when sheriff’s Deputy Mike Dixon was injured while responding to the scene. The sheriff’s office says Dixon was in his patrol car, with blue lights and siren on, when he swerved off Silk & Tassel Drive to avoid crashing into a van.

Deputies say the van had failed to stop at the intersection of Silk & Tassel Drive and Chenault Road. Dixon’s car hit a tree, and he suffered minor injuries.

Sifford said the N.C. Highway Patrol arrested a driver a short time later in connection with that incident. The driver, a 70-year-old man, was charged with several traffic citations.

Five area schools – Cleveland, Mount Ulla and Woodleaf elementary schools, West Rowan Middle and West Rowan High – were put on lockdown for several hours Monday morning while deputies searched for a suspect.

Anyone with information in the case is asked to contact the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office at 704-216-8687 or 704-216-8683.

Lyttle: 704-358-6107; Twitter: @slyttle

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