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Family: Detroit man fatally shot while protecting grandchildren

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A photo of John Villneff, 62, provided by his family. A photo of John Villneff, 62, provided by his family.
Michael Villneff weeps after talking about his father's murder. Michael Villneff weeps after talking about his father's murder.
A look inside a home on Rutland Street where family members say a group of men entered and began to beat a 16-year-old boy. A look inside a home on Rutland Street where family members say a group of men entered and began to beat a 16-year-old boy.
DETROIT (WJBK) -

A 62-year-old Detroit grandfather was fatally shot while protecting his granddaughter from a group of men who broke into a home on the city's west side.

John Villneff's four grandchildren were playing video games inside his daughter's home on the 6000 block of Rutland Street around 11 p.m. Wednesday when the men barged in and began to pistol-whip a 16-year-old boy.

Three other children inside the home ran out next door to where Villneff lived. When he came out of his home, the assailants were fleeing the scene. But not before Villneff's 12-year-old granddaughter, who said she recognized some of the attackers, snapped several photos of them with her iPad.

Upon seeing this, one of the suspects fired several shots at the girl. But Villneff stepped in front of her, taking two bullets in the back. He died at the scene but not before calling his son to alert him of the attack.

"I didn't even get to tell him I loved him," said John's son Michael Villneff. "These cowardly, heartless, worthless people took a key person in our family away from us for nothing." 

John's daughter Melissa says the iPad was turned over to police.

Villneff was a Marine veteran and awarded the Purple Heart for his service in Vietnam.

Detroit police say the 16-year-old, who is going to be a senior at Dearborn Robichaud High School, is in stable condition at a local hospital.

A statement from police said a "male suspect" was in custody following tips from the public.

Family members say a fund will be set up to help pay for Villneff's funeral expenses. Once we receive the information, it will be posted here on myFOXDetroit.com.

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