VANCOUVER, Wash. -- A homeowner shot and killed a prowler who was in his backyard Wednesday morning, Vancouver police said.

Police were called just before 5:30 a.m. to the report of a disturbance in the 14500 block of Northeast 49th Circle.

Police spokeswoman Kim Kapp said the homeowner, identified as former Vancouver mayoral candidate Steven Cox, was awakened by the prowler in his fenced backyard.

"The homeowner arms himself with a gun and confronts the suspect in the yard," she said. "A physical altercation occurs between the two and the homeowner fires one round striking the suspect."

A neighbor said he heard the two arguing followed by a gunshot.

"It sounded like he said 'don't move' or 'don't get up,' or something like that," the neighbor said.

The suspect, identified as 30-year-old Ryan J. Anderson of Ridgefield, was taken to a nearby hospital with life-threatening injuries. He later died at the hospital.

Washington state law allows someone to use reasonable force to defend themselves or their property, so long as they feel they're about to be attacked.

An investigation is ongoing.