Police found Earnest Gonzales wounded early Wednesday in the front yard of the woman's home. He died later at a hospital.
Authorities say Gonzales tried to break in Christmas night but fled. He returned hours later, forced open the door and assaulted the woman. She managed to retrieve a handgun and fired once, hitting him in the left side. The woman's two children -- 16-year-old and a newborn -- were in the home at the time.
Police say the woman had legal possession of the handgun and the case would be referred to a grand jury. They also say no criminal charges are expected.