David Laut, who won a bronze medal for the United States in the shot put at the 1984 Olympics, was shot to death after confronting intruders outside his California home, authorities said on Saturday. He was 52.
Laut was gunned down early on Friday when he went outside to check on a noise in the yard, Oxnard Police Sgt Ken Klopman said. Police yesterday hadn't made any arrests or identified suspects.
Laut also won a gold medal at the 1979 Pan American Games. He was favoured to win the gold medal at the Los Angeles Olympics after throwing 21.59 meters at the US Olympic trials. He won the bronze instead with a mark of 20.97 on his final attempt at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
In 1985, he was ranked the No 7 shot-putter in the world and the No. 1 American. But his career nearly ended the following year when he tore tendons in both knees during an agility test to become a fireman.
Laut's effort to make the 1988 US Olympic team fell short at the Olympic trials. He worked out every day in the garage of his small stucco home in Ventura County, about 100 kilometres northwest of Los Angeles.
Carter Laurie, Laut's neighbour, said his wife heard three shots at about midnight on Friday, but the couple dismissed the sound as firecrackers until police arrived.