By Rich E.
“Rich, someone’s trying to break in the front door.” At 3:00 AM on a New Mexico summer morning, this was my wife, shaking me awake after a long day on second shift and a couple beers when I got home. My initial response was something to the affect that “there’s no one trying to break in, go back to sleep.” Then I heard it. And felt it. Someone was indeed trying to break down our front door . . .
Two nights before this incident I came home from work to find a girl sitting on my front porch steps crying. I recognized her as one of my wife’s coworkers and walked inside to tell my wife “This one’s for you.” I don’t deal well with crying women.
Turns out that the young lady on my porch arrived home from work to find that her new husband had a girlfriend in the house, and when she showed up he threw her out (the wife) and told her to not come home. The young girl was fairly new in town and didn’t know many people, and she lived a few blocks from us. Without a car or money, she walked to our house and sat down on the porch and cried because she didn’t know what to do or say, and had no idea or way to do anything herself.
I’ll shorten this a bit by saying that we told her she could stay with us until her Mom could send her a bus ticket to return to Nebraska.
Now back to the door. I quickly grabbed my Beretta M9 that was always on my nightstand and ran to the front door in time to put my foot at the bottom of the door to hold it as the person outside hit it one last time, hard enough to shatter the dead bolt and break the chain lock. I told him I had a gun and would shoot him if he managed to get in the house, but it slowed him down not at all.
When he backed up again to rush the door, I took my foot off the door and let him hit it. This time he was greeted with the barrel of my Beretta punching him dead center of the forehead. I DID NOT SHOOT. But, it scared him so bad that he did a back flip off my porch and landed face first, ass in the air, in the front yard. I yelled for my wife to call 911 and tell them I have a gun and might just shoot someone.
By the way, the entire time this is going on I’m in my bright red Fruit of the Looms, deciding that the situation warranted an immediate response without a wardrobe change.
The intruder started to run toward a pickup truck parked on the street, but by this point I was fairly pissed, so I ran him down and tackled him. Probably not the smartest thing to do, because once a bad guy starts to run away it’s a good idea to let him. However, I was PISSED, and it was a good tackle. I picked him up slamming him against the hood of his truck with my Beretta securely forced against the back of his head, directly behind his right ear. I told him that if he moved or tried to fight I would indeed shoot him.
This was all taking place in a small town in New Mexico, and I was there as a contractor to the Air Force installing F-111 simulators on the base. It was soon after I had the guy on the hood of his truck that sirens started to sound all over town, and it only took only five minutes for all six police cars to arrive.
As the first one came to a stop, I stepped back from the intruder and held my gun above my head, walking backward until I got to my porch and laid the gun down beside the steps. Still in my bright red underwear.
All six cops had their guns drawn, some pointed at me, and some pointed at the bad guy. The first cop took one look at me and said “I think we know who the homeowner is.”
As my wife and I explained what had happened (she brought a pair of jeans outside for me), a couple of the other cops were talking to the guy I tackled, now in handcuffs.
It turns out that this guy was a friend of the husband of the girl who was still asleep in our spare bedroom, and he came over, drunk as a skunk, to “talk some sense into her.” About what is beyond me. Hell, she just wanted to go home.
The lead cop arrested the guy for DUI, criminal trespass and breaking & entering. He also had a .22 rifle in the back of his truck but didn’t threaten to use it so there were no charges filed concerning his gun. This is New Mexico. Lots of folks have guns in their trucks. He also had a great big goose egg in the middle of his forehead where I hit him with the barrel of my gun.
The cop told him that he was a lucky man, because had he tried the same thing at the cop’s house, he would be a corpse right now. The cop congratulated me for my restraint and asked where I learned to handle a weapon. I told him I was a former Security Policeman in the Air Force and they taught me everything I know.
There’s no moral to this story. I was well within my rights to kill this guy, but my gut told me that he wasn’t as big a threat as he thought he was.
Afterward I sat and thought about the entire incident. It boils down to being drunk and doing something really stupid. I’ve been there before. If I got shot every time I did something stupid while I was drunk in my late teens and twenties, I’d look like Swiss Cheese. I’m happy it turned out the way it did, and I’m fairly sure that guy won’t be doing the same thing again. If he does, someone else might not be as “reasonable” to deal with as I was, but I have no ghosts to deal with the rest of my life.