Jesse Lyne Bruner (courtesy deseretnews.com)

I have a rep in these parts for being anti-cop. I’m not. I’m anti-bad cop. If I hear someone breaking into my house or nosing around my property, I’m calling the my good friends (at that moment anyway) in the police department. I’m not going to investigate. I’ll gather friendlies, assume a defensive position and wait. Here’s a story [via deseretmnews,com] where a homeowner took it upon himself to locate and confront a perp before the po-po made the scene and paid the ultimate price . . .

The lethal events began when Jesse Lyle Bruner [above] tried to kick in Russell Jacobs’ front door. Unified Police Lt. Lex Bell said investigators believe Jacobs’ house was chosen for an unknown reason, completely at random.

“It could have been any house on that street,” he said.

Jacobs, a father of four, was in the house asleep, with his wife Jana and his 18-year-old son Josh. The three were the only ones home at the time, police said.

“Mr. Jacobs armed himself with a .45 and a flashlight and ran to the front door to see who was trying to break in. When the pounding on the door stopped, Mr. Jacobs, his wife and his 18-year-old son went outside to see if it was a prank but found no one in their yard. When they returned to their front door, they noticed shoe prints on the door where someone had tried to kick it in,” Bell said.

Jacobs’ wife called 911 to report the incident.

Prank? Uh, OK. Shoe prints on the door? Let’s stay indoors and wait, shall we? Calling the cops? Right answer. Going out to find the bad guy? Not so much. Keep in mind this all happened at 2am. As they say, nothing good happens at 2am.

Jacobs then went back into his house, got dressed and got his .357 handgun, “because he trusted the .357 more, and he was concerned there might be a threat to his family and not a prank. Once dressed, Mr. Jacobs opened the front door to look around the yard again with the flashlight in his hand,” Bell said.

After several minutes of searching his yard, Bruner appeared and started walking toward Jacobs, “feigning an injury to his leg and asking to come inside,” the lieutenant said.

Investigators speculated Friday that Bruner was holding his single-shot, sawed-off shotgun, which measured just under 2 feet, to his side and was pretending he had an injured leg to conceal it.

Believing he was the man who just attempted to kick in his door, Jacobs confronted Bruner to protect his family, according to Bell.

About four houses down the block, Jacobs said something to Bruner to the effect that he knew who he was, according to Bell. Bruner responded by saying something similar to, “So what if I am?”

Just as he said that, Bell said, Bruner fired his shotgun.

“The blast hit Mr. Jacobs’ outstretched left hand and flashlight first and then went into his chest. Mr. Jacobs then returned fire, shooting four shots at Mr. Bruner. Mr. Bruner was hit once through his arm and into his chest. Two shots went through his clothing in the stomach area but did not hit his body, and the fourth shot missed entirely,” he said.

Good old .357. Hard to control – hence the missed shots – but any hits will have a devastating effect. Regardless, too late. And here’s a perfect example of a gunfight that could have been won simply by avoiding it. By waiting for the cops. Or, at the very least, following the bad guy from a safe distance while talking to the cops on the phone.

Mr. Jacobs' bereaved family. (courtesy deseretnews.com)

Our condolences to the Jacobs family [above]. Mr. Jacobs was a brave man defending his family and his neighborhood. He succeeded at the cost of his life. Don’t let this be you.

74 Responses to Self-Defense Tip: Call the Cops

  1. “Mr. Jacobs was a brave man defending his family and his neighborhood. He succeeded at the cost of his life. Don’t let this be you.”

    Disagree. While I’m a firm believer in ‘make the other bastard give his life’ principle, the reality of it is the bad guys will get theirs too sometimes. That’s life. If you gotta go out anyways, going out shooting is always preferable to the alternative of going out anyways surrendering.

    Yes we could MMQB this by saying he should have stayed back and phoned the cops. It could also be MMQBd that the cops would just put him on hold while the bad guy kicked in a window later that night and shot him and his family anyways.

    • So should we all run down the middle of a busy highway? Or should we just avoid saying that because “MMQing”?

      No, that would be dumb. Just as going out of your house for the express purpose of finding some unknown dude who was trying to kick your door down is dumb.

      • The door held its integrity and was keeping the bad guy out. It’s a shame he gave up his strong position and went outside.

        The whole point is to take the most advantageous tactical position, and it could be a different one every time. That’s why “duty to retreat” laws are so evil. They can force a defender to choose between the (legal) non-aggressive weak tactical decision, and the (illegal) one that maximizes chances of survival and does not needlessly cede valuable ground or endanger innocents.

    • Suppose Jacobs had called police and, before they could arrive, Bruner succeeded in breaking in. Inside the house, all the advantages lay with Jacobs. His going outdoors to look around gave tactical advantage to Bruner. It cost Jacobs his life and, if he hadn’t been able to wound Bruner, could have cost his family their lives, too.

      • Not just wound — kill. Neighbors (one of them a doctor) arrived on the scene within seconds, and the dirtbag was DRT. Mr. Jacobs succumbed to his wound a few minutes later, while paramedics were tending to him.

        From a safe distance in hindsight, it’s easy to see that following the perp so closely (let alone searching in the dark at 2 am) was a tactical error. Much harder to think clearly in the stress of the moment. At least, in the stress of the moment, the good guy had the steadiness of hand and mind to drop the bad guy in his tracks.

        Complicating matters was the fact that the guy they were following grew up in the neighborhood and was known to his intended victims. They probably didn’t expect someone whose family they knew to pull out a hidden sawed-off shotgun.

        The moral of the story as far as I’m concerned: never trust anyone with facial tattoos. They’d have been better off shooting that waste of ink the second he stepped out of the shadows onto their lawn.

  2. Well, after all, they ARE more highly trained than you. And better shots, I’m told. And NEVER shoot anything they’re not supposed to, right?

    I’m not calling any Po-Po until whatever it is that invaded my house stops twitching.

    Just because this guy blew it doesn’t mean he had the wrong idea. Waiting for the cops to arrive has cost too many lives.

    • He left the house which is the part which stinks, you break into mine I’ll stop the threat but I won’t go seeking it out..shelter in place from my previous built defensive position while the police clear the street

      • Leaving the house was a bad idea. Besides putting himself at a tactical disadvantage, suppose the tables had turned and he spotted the shotgun and shot the BG dead before he could fire. What do you suppose the local DA would think of you following him down the street so you could kill him? Better have a hell of a lawyer on speed dial.

        • Exactly, leaving the relative safety of his house was a loose, loose anyway it played out.
          In this case, he lost in the biggest way possible except his family didn’t go down with him.

  3. Going out into a dark cover and concealment rich area seems pretty foolish to me. I too hope that I would have stayed inside and and waited for the fuzz.

    • “Going out into a dark cover and concealment rich area seems pretty foolish to me.”

      This! Taking the initiative to protect your family is the right thing to do. Going about it wisely is also the right thing to do. Going around alone in the dark after an unknown number of home invaders with a bright flashlight in your hand is not wise in my book.

      My condollensces to the family. Let’s all learn from Mr. Jacob’s mistake so that he didn’t give his life in vain.

  4. ‘The blast hit Mr. Jacobs’ outstretched left hand and flashlight first and then went into his chest. Mr. Jacobs then returned fire…’

    ‘Good old .357. Hard to control – hence the missed shots…’

    Because a .45 is so much easier to shoot accurately in the dark after your hand, flashlight and chest have taken a shotgun blast…

    • I’m with the Gov on this one. Shooting ANY handgun one-handed after taking a close-range mortal-within-minutes shotgun blast to the chest, and still killing his assailant with 3/4 hits on the guy’s clothing (yes, 2 missed his actual body), is still damned respectable. Sure, Miculek would get 15 hits through the pupils out of a 5- shot revolver without reloading in .3 seconds, but who are we kidding? Was it wise to leave the house? No. Should we second guess his caliber and platform choice? Absolutely not.

  5. I’m with RF on this one. I’d call the cops and while I was waiting a half an hour for them to arrive, I’d watch a DVD or something.

    • Might as well cook and eat a snack while we are at. I would hide the gun when the poo-poo actually did show up.

  6. The article doesn’t say, but it appears that the victim may have closed distance on the suspect as he was following him down the street. That was the fatal error.

    From the article (not quoted above):

    Jacobs was “concerned for the rest of the neighborhood,” the lieutenant said. “Mr. Jacobs followed Mr. Bruner as he walked north in the street, pointing a flashlight at him.”

    Then he got close enough to talk to the suspect (again?).

    • It was incredibly noble for Mr. Jacobs to follow the attacker out of concern for his neighbors. Unfortunately, he didn’t survive the encounter.

      This is a reminder to hold that flashlight off to the side as far away from your body as possible.

      • If you ever do much force on force training in the dark you will quickly learn how laughable it is to assume people will be able to accurately shoot your light. Indoors, having a weapon mounted light is a huge advantage.

        • Those against weapon mounted lights probably haven’t taken no/low light training. Not meaning to offend, just an observation. If you use the light correctly by briefly turning it on and then quickly off while moving you aren’t putting a shoot me beacon on your chest. Also, this story shows you may be down to one hand or have your primary light destroyed. What then? It’s nice to have an additional light on the gun as a backup.

        • Hinshelworld,

          Combat in the dark sucks. If you do not use flashlights, then you are not sure of your target until they attack you. If you do use flashlights, then your opponents know exactly where you are well before you know where they are.

          Not knowing your target is bad. Your opponents knowing exactly where you are well before you know where they are is bad.

          I will keep my lighting sources separate from my firearms. That gives me options, like holding the light away from my body or setting the light on the floor shining down a “fatal funnel”. That gives me a slight edge … it helps me see/identify my targets without giving my opponents a giant obvious bullseye at which to aim.

          As for your comment about lights and force-on-force encounters, this story illustrates one instance where the attacker targeted the defender’s light with deadly consequences for the defender.

        • Was waiting for this thread to turn into the predictable “what I carry and others should not” debate that Farago sets the example to do so with his “357 hard to hit with” comment. Pretty pathetic.

      • reread story uncommon. The light was not on the handgun was in Jacobs LEFT hand. Dang few .357 have a rail on which to mount a light.

  7. Suspect someone in the house and not confronting me or the family. Call local police and let them know where I am and that I am armed and if someone comes through that door I’ll have to protect myself and family otherwise you can come in and clear the house and let me know if all is ok and then I’ll come out unarmed to say thank you.

    • then I’ll come out unarmed to say thank you

      But by then they’ve flash-banged the baby and shot the family dog. Poor Scooter. He was such a cute little Pomeranian.

  8. Call the police. blah. 2 years ago, my wife came home from her job at 11:30 at night (with our little boy she just picked up from the sitter in our car) and found an unknown pick up parked in our driveway. I was at work (working the 7 to 7 night shift) She phoned those trusted public protectors only to be informed that she was within her rights to get a hold of a tow company and have the vehicle removed. When she said she was scared there was someone in our home, the good Ole franklin county police dept. told her that there was nothing they could do as there is no evidence of a crime. (just go ahead and go on in honey, what’s the worst that could happen.) she ended up getting a hold of her father who made an armed entry into our house. no one was there and the truck ended up belonging to a friend of her brother, but point well taken anyway. The police aren’t here to help. Take care of yourself because no one else will do it. Police have no obligation, and in my experience no inclination, to do more than help clean up the mess afterwards.

    • I think you missed the point. It’s too bad your police weren’t helpful but that was one time and on situation. If you think someone is breaking into your house it’s smart (if possible in the moment) to call the cops. If they don’t show you can tell the jury you at least tried. Also, cops or not, it’s probably a safer bet to remain in your home in the situation described in the article.

    • Police Do Not Have a Constitutional Duty to Protect Individuals

      Riss v. New York, 22 N.Y.2d 579,293 N.Y.S.2d 897, 240 N.E.2d 806 (1958)
      Warren v. District of Columbia, 444 A.2d 1 (D.C. 1981)
      Bowers v. DeVito, 686 F.2d 616 (7th Cir. 1982)
      DeShaney v. Winnebago County D.S.S., 489 U.S. 189 (1989)
      Lynch v. N.C. Dept. of Justice, 376 S.E. 2nd 247 (N.C. App. 1989)
      Barillari v. City of Milwaukee, 533 N.W.2d 759 (Wis. 1995)
      Ford v. Town of Grafton, 693 N.E.2d 1047 (Mass. App. 1998)
      Castle Rock v. Gonzales, (04-278) 545 U.S. 748 (2005)

      • My point exactly. You can call all you want, but don’t have any expectations of assistance. Always assume you are on your own. That way you won’t be disappointed when you are.

  9. How hard is it to shelter in place and not play cowboy? I’m not running outside looking for a creep in the dark. If they do break in give him a lead shower and by all means call the po-leece. My local po-po are literally one minute away(more pests than anything else)…sorry for your loss folks.

      • The po-leece literally drive by my house hundreds of times a day Tom-they get here in literally 1 minute.(I live on a main drag). More pests than anything else-revenue collectors. Barney Fife types…

        • The po-po may drive by your house all day; but still how long does it take them to respond to a call?
          My daughter has a semi=similar incident to this and Deputy Dawg showed up a half hour later.

  10. Leaving the house once to find out what happened wasn’t optimal.
    Leaving the house again to ‘protect his family from the intruder’ after you KNEW there was an intruder was a fatal mistake.
    Lock up the house, arm yourself, take up a defensive shooting position between the threat and your loved ones, and shoot that SOB to pieces IF he comes inside.

  11. I wasn’t expecting a sad end to that.
    I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t leave the cover and concealment of my home, but lesson retained anyway.

  12. Years ago while l was away on Reserve duty, my wife was awakened by the house alarm. We lived in the woods, far from any neighbors. The sheriff’s deputy got lost trying to find our place, but eventually made it about hour later. My wife never left the house, but sat up with her 86 pound Labrador and 20 gauge Remington 1100 until he arrived and conducted a search. He found nothing, but did ask if she was armed. When she said yes, he replied, “It’s a good thing you are because this place is hard to find, and help might not be available.” No heroics were called for in my wife’s case, but every situation is different. I am sorry for the Jacob’s family and their loss.

  13. I think that recon is a bad idea unless you have backup. That’s a task for a squad, not an individual.

    Sincere condolences to the family. Go with God, and rest in peace.

  14. Many years ago I started out the front door to confront some jackasses breaking into my car. My buddy and I thought we’d give em’ a butt whipping. Until one of them opened fired on us. We definitely made a tactical miscalculation. Fortunately neither my buddy or me was hit.

    Many years later, I no longer venture outside in search of trouble. Unless absolutely necessary. I’ll sit tight, well armed, and wait for the boys in blue to earn their paycheck.

  15. Abandoned his family to protect his neighbors.
    Priorities.
    Protect your neighbors with your phone.
    Protect your family with whatever means necessary.

    • This.

      When I was a kid my dad had all the neighbors’ numbers posted right by the phone, one reason being just this sort of situation. Fortunately the only emergencies that list was used for were a couple of rather impressive wrecks and a blown water main, but it was there just in case.

      Well, emergencies they told me about, anyway — for all I know there could have been one they just let me sleep through.

  16. Jacobs got noticed but ran toward the threat instead of away. In this case stay put. If the perp broke in then he would have been a position to him pay.

    Just remember don’t get noticed, run away (or stay put in your house) if you do and get into a gun fight only as a last resort.

  17. 2:00 AM? I would have armed myself with my primary defense weapon, and called the cops. I would NOT have gone around the neighborhood at 2:00 AM armed with my PDW, which is my AK47 That’s just not what I get paid to do. Let the cops do that. My job in that situation is to protect myself by standing back and watch that door get broken down in which case I’m sending someone away in a Ziplock bag.
    There is a huge difference between being in your house and not being in your house when someones becoming room temperature. I don’t want to be answering questions as to why I shot the crap out of some guy outside my house because he kicked my door. No, I don’t think so, that’s NOT good. An armed dead puke outside your house is not good no matter how you justify it.

  18. One on one outside is risky enough, but it could be a set up by multiple invaders. It could be a diversion for someone breaking in through the back of the house. All are scenarios that have played out in Houston.

    Our plan us to move toward the middle of the house where we have each other’s backs, can control friendlies and guard against incursions from multiple directions. Leaving the house to search the dark unknown alone is not part of the plan.

    Although, a big part of that caution stems from not wanting to be engaged and shot by responding officers (who’s to say someone else didn’t call them?)

    • That’s a great point I had not considered, and now that you mentioned it, if someone were trying to kick down my door, my neighbors would probably call the cops immediately. If I had been outdoors at the time po-po arrived, I would be the first detained and restrained giving the bad guy more time to evade and escape. However, if my neighbors door was being kicked down, I would automatically do a go-and-see, armed with my EDC and mobile. I’d like to think I would be mindful enough to call the police and make sure they knew who I was, and how I was dressed, before getting involved, but I also know that every second counts. I would not want to let my neighbors suffer any harm due to the wasted seconds of notifying police, while my intervention could prevent a tragedy. When I was trained to be a lifeguard, our first duty is to the immediate rescue. Once the person is ashore, and before we start resuscitation, we TELL someone to call 911, THAN we tell someone else to dial 911 (now 2 people will have EMS responding), now we start rescue breaths. And this is how I would treat all rescue efforts, including an armed rescue. Respond, intervene, notify police, post guard and wait. I might be robbing Peter to save Paul, but not stepping over a dollar to pick up a nickel. Sorry for the puns.

    • IMO a good plan; tool up get down and let the people who are paid to deal with shotgun wielding maniacs deal with them. Even if they don’t get there instantly.

  19. The price of a video surveillance system that was never installed at the doors and other areas: $400.

    The first mistake was not having any remote view of what was occurring outside.

  20. Step 1: Grab handgun
    Step 2: Quickly throw on my IIIA vest that’s under the bed and toss the the other vest to my wife to put on
    Step 3: Don’t introduce any more light and remember to pie your corners until you reach kids rooms
    Step 4: Have all my family members relocate to my bedroom, lock door, get in defensive position, and call police.

    Though stuff never works out how you planned………So I could see the story above happening, but as soon as I knew it wasn’t a “prank” I would make everyone get inside the house. As far as looking for the intruder…I’m lucky enough to have a AI AT 308 with a very nice high powered scope and lots of windows to inspect all around my home. From the story it sounds like I probably would have see him in my rifle scope from a distance. Then I have to make a couple of difficult decisions, do I call the police and have him arrested?…..When released is he going to pose a very high likely hood of retaliation with deadly force? Do I have my dope card for Lapua 308 sub-sonic ammo with suppressor? Once I remove the present and future danger to my family will any of my neighbors notice me loading a body in my trunk at 2am? Lastly make sure to recover bullet and dump body in Chicago where it wouldn’t be out of the norm.

    • This is kinda why I want a 300 Blackout with a can. That way I could attend to a problem in a quiet and efficient manner without annoying the neighbors.

      Of course, a compound bow would do the trick, too…

      • A 308 sub-sonic round fired from a bolt action rifle is actually quieter then my AAC 9″ MPW firing sub-sonic 300blk rounds. Though definately quiet enough not to wake the neighbors. If I was your neighbor and you could take out garbage all night long as long as you didn’t wake me. I wake up pretty very early in the morning so after a long night you’re more than welcome to come over for a cup of coffee. Hell, after I’ve had a cup of coffee and a cigarette I’ll do the neighborly thing and help you pick up all the scumbags and help toss them in the back of your pickup for disposal.

  21. I would be curious to find out if Mr. Jacobs was prior Military, for many years after release it took an unexpected amount of self control, too not confront the enemy so to speak. My condolences to family!

  22. So twice this year at around midnight with me in a deep sleep someone starts banging on my door. I roll out of bed, grab my rifle and check the front door but don’t open it. Nobody is there. I then check the windows in the living room lighting up the backyard with the 320 lumens surefire light out the window. One of the times I actually caught some movement as I shined the light out my kitchen window. It appeared to be some teenagers, maybe….possibly paying knock, knock, ditch?

    I have a home security system that was activated and detects breaking glass so I wasn’t going to turn it off to go do a check but at the same time I live in a good neighborhood so chances are it was a prank and I am not sure I want to waste the polices time to investigate.

    Plus I have work in the morning so dealing with the cops, filing a report, having to stay up longer than the 15 minutes I already spent checking things out is not ideal.

    95% sure it IS a prank, I have two daughters, really I want to catch these kids to mainly tell them to knock it off. Our house is not the house you want to screw around with but relying on the police to get to my house in time, catch the kids so they can get a scolding….I doubt that will happen, I was a teenage prankster once and we were pretty quick on our feet.

    It is sound advice not to go looking for trouble but calling cops for every bump in the night can get a little tiresome.

    Another scenario, heard a crash in the living room awhile back which was furniture getting knocked over. Grabbed rifle and checked the noise to find it was the cat that knocked over her cat house on to table and a domino effect of things that went flying. Ideally it would have been smarter to LOCK the bedroom door, call police, and wait. That way IF there was a bad guy making the noise, no gun fight, nobody got shot…don’t worry dog sleeps in the bed with me 😛 but the reality is it would be pretty embarrassing to have the cops show up to tell me it was a naughty cat.

    Being an armchair quarterback is super hard job!

  23. I’m gathering from the story that the church/community leaders in this guy’s neighborhood had been warning folks about a couple of bad guys. I’m thinking that this guy took the role of “sheepdog” seriously–he didn’t want to just sit back and wait for the cops while the bad guy or guys broke into someone else’s house. I dunno whether I would do the same or not, honestly. My inclination would be “no”, except there is a sweet little old lady across the street who was the subject of such an attempted break-in, the cops took forever to get there, and she and her family visited us the next day and her daughter asked us to kind of keep an eye out for her while she is there alone. And she did call once when she thought she heard something in her attic and I went over and checked it out for her. So I might be tempted to do something like our subject here, just for her sake.

  24. Years ago I read a comment by a police officer in the same situation. He called the police and waited with his family, armed, INSIDE his house. The police stopped, and later arrested the guy who was trying to kick in his front door. If a police officer calls the police and waits for the police to arrive, then probably, so should you.

  25. While I regularly love the story of a good shooting, this stinks of a bullshooting. A play-by-play of an episode with no living witnesses by a cop who was not there. Complete with complex sequence of events in the firing order, after dialog reported, exactly how, if both wound up dead? One player supposedly defending his family while patrolling with a gun 4 houses down the street at 2 AM? Another player who tats his face and wears a shirt over a hoodie? Even before our hero shoots the bad guy dead AFTER taking a shotgun blast to his gun hand (?), story stinks to high heaven. Suspect a fiction writer was involved, not a good one.

      • His unarmed son was out there too?
        Double plus ungood.

        When I was about 14 and my brother heard voices outside in the night, we loaded up our 500s and went outside. So, in the yard, we had my father, my brother, and myself, all holding 12ga pumps, plus my pointer and my brother’s pointer, both of whom wanted to chase off into the woods behind the house. We did some exploring in that direction before we gave up and decided the uninvited guests were making fast tracks while we were turning on lights and grabbing shells.

        In the house, we had my mother and some aquarium fish. I don’t believe she loaded a gun. At the time she didn’t own one, but had shot most of dad’s at one time or another.

        In view of this article, what we did was not a goodness thing. OTOH, three shotguns and two large fast dogs give you much better odds than one handgun.

  26. I keep these things within arm’s reach at night: pistol, phone, and keys. The pistol is for immediate use…I’d rather use the Mossy 500 but I find it unwieldy inside, but it’s not far if it becomes necssary. The phone is naturally for 911 in case I have to report a crime/arrange a meat wagon for pickup. I can use the car keys to trigger the car alarm as I don’t have a home alarm system besides the German shepherd (yet). That will alert the neighbors and give the fuzz an easy way to figure out where I am…and it might help convince would-be home invaders to GTFO. You know, if the huge furry animals outside (dog) and inside the house (moi) can’t convince them otherwise.

    • Triggering the car alarm is a really good idea. Never thought of that. I do have a home alarm but that would still help draw attention or perhaps scare off people creeping outside around the property.

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