CUSSETA, AL (WTVM) – The family of 85-year-old Curtis Rudd spent Friday paying their final respects at his private funeral services.
Family, friends and law enforcement agree that Rudd died a hero when he used a 38 caliber handgun to return fire at Davonte Mike and Robert Wiggins.
During a press conference on Thursday, Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones confirmed the two suspects had been arrested and charged with capital murder in the death of Curtis Rudd.
Jones said Devonte Travon Mike, 20, of Opelika, and Robert Jamal Wiggins, 20, of Columbus, have been arrested and charged in Rudd's death.
Mike is being held in the Lee County Detention Center without bond. Wiggins, originally from Chicago and recently located to Columbus, is currently a patient at the East Alabama Medical Center, but is being watched by Lee County deputies. Wiggins will be taken to jail following his release from the hospital.
A firearm has been recovered that law enforcement believe is connected to this crime.
Early Tuesday, Sheriff Jones confirmed that Rudd died following a home invasion robbery. The murder happened on the 3400 block of Lee Co. Rd. 177 in Cusseta; a 911 call came into the sheriff's office at 1:13 a.m. CST.
Jones says the victim, identified as Rudd, was shot during the robbery and pronounced dead at the hospital by Lee County Coroner Bill Harris.
The caller stated that her husband, Rudd, had been shot by intruders. Deputies arrived on the scene and discovered Rudd lying on the floor suffering from multiple gunshot injuries.
According to the Rudd's wife, they were awakened by a noise at their front door which resulted in the door being forced opened. Rudd's wife was not injured in this incident.
"She and her husband were in the bed and heard some sort of noise at the door," said Captain Van Jackson with the Lee County Sheriff's Office. "It woke them both up and when they went to see what was going on they discovered two masked men inside the home, and we know for sure one was armed with a handgun."
Sheriff Jones says Rudd was armed and exchanged gunfire with the suspects and possibly wounded one of them before they fled.
A short time later, investigators say a man, later identified as Wiggins, had been shot and also showed up at the ER.
Rudd's death is the third murder in Lee County in 2016.
"They are just the sweetest people, saw them the other day in town," said family friend Melissa Scott. "For him to die like that it's just so hard to believe and understand."
Captain Jackson says this is the first home invasion robbery they've had in this area of Lee County in quite some time.
Jones said that more arrests could be made and more charges could be filed against Wiggins and Mike.
Prior to the home invasion at Rudd's home, at 8:30 p.m. CST on Monday, the sheriff's office received a call from an elderly woman on Lee County Road 390 in the same general area reporting a burglary at her home.
According to police, she stated that she heard a noise at her door. When she went to the door, a suspect kicked the door in and came into her residence. She struck the intruder with her walking stick several times and the suspect fled the scene. She described the suspect as a tall, thin black male. This crime is being investigated in conjunction with the home invasion that took place about four-and-a-half hours later.
These cases are in active investigation status and additional arrests may result.
If you have any information about this case or any other case please contact the Lee County Sheriff's Office at (334)-749-5651 or Lee County Crime Stoppers at 1-888-522-7847.
Stay tuned for more on this developing story.