After being woken by loud noises in his Mill Basin, Brooklyn home around 2 a.m. yesterday morning, 62-year-old Larry Goldstein took his .38-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver to investigate what was happening. He discovered two intruders in his kitchen, and since they appeared to be armed, Goldstein fired, hitting one of the men three times while the other fled. And it turned out the intruders were carrying a toy pistol and toy machine gun. A police official told the Wall Street Journal the toys "were very realistic looking... If someone pointed them at you, you would light them up too."

Goldstein, a retired schoolteacher, was licensed to carry his gun, and no charges will be filed against him because, the WSJ explains, "state law permits homeowners to use deadly force when their houses are forcibly entered." He told reporters, "It was frightening. I don't know, it was protective instinct. I'm just sorry it happened. I'm all shaken up... I never expected to have a break-in and I'm glad that nobody was hurt in my family," remarks that somewhat echo the regret that a Harlem shopowner had when he fired at robbers (killing two) who were threatening him and his employee.

Alexander Maginat, 30, was hit twice in the chest and once in the arm. Maginat, who is at Brookdale Hospital, had eight prior arrests and was charged with robbery, criminal possession of a weapon and possession of burglar's tools. However his mother, a former auxiliary cop, told the Daily News that her son couldn't possibly be a burglar, "My son knows better than that."

Goldstein's neighbors were relieved: One told the Post, "Hopefully, he'll make people think twice about coming here and knocking down doors," and another said, "As a person who's been an opponent of gun ownership, I'm glad he had one now."