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Arrest Made In Attack That Left Grandfather Dead

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John Villneff (Family Photo)

John Villneff (Family Photo)

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DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - Detroit police say they’ve arrested a suspect in an attack at a home on the city’s west side that left a teenager injured and the boy’s 62-year-old grandfather dead.

A statement from police said a “male suspect” was in custody Thursday following tips from the public. His identity was not immediately released.

Vietnam veteran and Purple Heart recipient John Villneff was fatally shot while trying to protect his 12-year-old granddaughter from a gunman.

Vanessa Villneff, the victim’s daughter, said a gang of men broke into her home on Rutland Street around 11 p.m. Wednesday and starting beating her 16-year-old nephew with a baseball bat and gun as they robbed the home.

Vanessa Villneff said the intruders went after her young niece because she was taking pictures of them on her iPad. One of the assailants pointed a gun at the girl, and that’s when John Villneff jumped in the way to save her.

The 16-year-old boy is hospitalized but expected to be OK.

The victim’s son, Michael, told WWJ’s Vickie Thomas the family knew the attackers.

“They came in to steal the XBOX, a Wii, some electronics, they were looking for money,” he said. “We had a shotgun, they come to get that and basically took our kindness for granted.”

Vanessa Villneff said they did everything they could to help keep the men on the right track.

“I fed these boys, I let them use my shower, they spent the night, they played the game, I took them places, I helped them out, I gave them odd jobs to do just so they wouldn’t have to steal from nobody,” she said.

Police were able to recover the iPad, but did not release the photos to the public.

In a statement, Police Chief Ralph Godbee said the arrest was a “perfect example of what can be done when citizens step up.”

An investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.

Stay with WWJ Newsradio 950 and CBSDetroit.com for the latest.

MORE: War Vet Shot, Killed While Protecting Grandkids From XBox Thieves

TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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