Adapted from the annals of KOIN-TV, Portland, Oregon:

Setting: Suburban home, bedroom, 2:00 a.m.
Characters: HUSBAND, WIFE, DOG, 911 DISPATCHER, INTRUDER.

HUSBAND and WIFE asleep in queen bed, illuminated by faint blue gel (oblique through window).

(Sound of breaking glass)

(DOG begins barking)

HUSBAND awakens and gets pistol; WIFE reaches for telephone and dials 911.

(Sound of pounding on locked bedroom door.)

HUSBAND (to DISPATCHER): There’s somebody breaking into our bedroom!

DISPATCHER: Hold on, officers will be there in a few minutes…

HUSBAND (to INTRUDER): The cops are on their way! Get out now!

Enter INTRUDER, breaking through bedroom door.

WIFE yells.

HUSBAND aims pistol at INTRUDER and fired multiple times.

INTRUDER falls down, twitches, and dies.

My cousin is a script reader in Hollywood. He went to film school and worships Marty Scorsese and the ground he walks on. He’s probably never fired a handgun in his life and likely won’t unless I can talk him into visiting us someday. But he’s smart enough to round-file a script like this in less than three seconds. And not because nobody uses a .22 pistol to defend their home (they do).

Why then? Because this story sucks, that’s why. The characters are barely even two-dimensional stereotypes and the action unfolds so predictably as to be a complete cliche. You don’t have to be a film buff to know that when the homeowner wakes up first and arms himself it’s the bad guy that buys the farm. The only way the homeowner dies is if he puts on his bathrobe and ventures out to investigate. Or if the intruder is a vampire or ninja or something.

Now if you, me, my non-gunny cousin and Gene Siskel’s ghost all know this story sucks, how can it be that criminals just don’t get it? Why do they keep volunteering to play the real-life intruder and whey do they keep getting ventilated by the horrified real-life husband?

Because they’re stoned, stupid or just plain evil. Whatever they are, you can’t expect them to be nice to you at 2:00 a.m. (or ever) and you can’t expect the police to arrive in time to save you. You can think carefully about your home security, and have the mindset, the skill set and the tool set to defend yourself. If all you’ve got is a Walther P22, remember to fire repeatedly until the threat is neutralized.

Oh, and if you want to know why we recommend that you give 911 basic info and then hang up or set the phone down, click here for the actual 911 audio on this incident.

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60 Responses to DGU of the Day: NW Burglar Drilled (and Why You Should Hang Up on 911)

  1. Thought #1: I love a happy ending.

    Thought #2: If it had been the cops, Fido would be pushing up daisies right now.

    • Mm. Sounds like this might be a drunk who got confused about which house was his. Unfortunate.

      Guess he should have called a cab.

    • A .33 BAC still is covered under the stupid category. Being stupid while drunk is not a defense.

      (Well, you’re honor, my client never would have disobeyed if he was sober…)

  2. i gave my p22 to my son. good gun, pita to strip and clean. he uses a 9mm but for target shooting he and his wife like the p22. bad guys coming into your house at 2 am are after more than loot. you need to be able to respond with force. glad it worked out for this couple.

    • Like the way the 911 operator tells them to hold on because the police are on the way!!!
      When trouble is seconds away the police will be there in a few minutes!!

    • I thought the same thing. Have your wife go and check the front door? Unload your gun? Lock up your dog? Go outside and wait in the front yard?

      What if there was another attacker that you didn’t see yet?

      The dispatcher is trying to make sure that the cops are safe upon arrival. What about the homeowners?

    • “Dial 911 And Die” – buy the book.

      And this 911 dispatcher sounds like a clueless idiot. “Where did you shoot him at, sir?”

      • Reminds me of an emergency room conversation I had as a child, after being bitten by the neighborhood’s mean dog

        “Where were you bit?”
        “In my yard.”
        “No, where?”
        “In Akron!”
        “I mean where on the body?”
        “Oh. My leg.”

    • Wow. That dispatcher is clueless. This situation could have had a bad ending for the homeowner if the guy wasn’t deceased or had a partner in the house.

  3. I love the way the media keep bringing up Stand Your Ground laws when they aren’t even relevant to the situation.

  4. .22 works as good as a .45 in that close of an environment!!! That type of dgu is solved by shot placement as much as caliber really. Have killed numerous coyotes on my land with just a .22revolver. Granted it fires both .22LR and .22Mag but it still works.
    Congrats to the homeowner! He has removed another set of bad DNA from the genepool.
    Not being callous but the perp apparently had some bad intentions for the homeowners.

  5. I know home invasion is serious business (and good God I want to throttle that dispatcher)…but the husband sounds a lot like Garfield the Cat. And now I can’t stop picturing him in this scenario.

    • LOL!! Yea he does now that you mention it!! Can just picture Garfield shooting the BG with the gun in one hand and lasagna in the other while Odie drools all over the BG after he is down.

  6. Walk out of the house at night carrying a weapon, even if it’s being held by the barrel, with a bunch of cops hopped up on testosterone/caffeine/sugar and Red Bull, aiming their weapons at me? Not a chance. The gun is empty, so even if the BG undergoes a miraculous resurrection and once again becomes aggressive, an empty gun will do one no good anyway. So, just leave the damn thing unloaded and concealed somewhere in the home. Just tell the cops where it is and let them retrieve it. How many times do innocent home owners carrying guns outside their homes need to get shot by police before we realize this is REALLY bad advice by the 911 operator?

    • One more thing….the Good Guy homeowner who dispatched the bad guy to eternity is deaf as a post (listen to the audio). So, if the 911 operator’s instructions are followed, now you have an old, deaf guy openly carrying a gun outside his home while a bunch of hyped-up LE dudes are yelling commands at an OFWG who can’t hear sh*t. “Drop the Gun!! Drop the F*cking Gun!…short pause…BOOM, BOOM, BOOM….grandpa is now dispatched as well, and now the situation is FUBAR.

  7. Wow, this one makes the cops look even worse than usual. A state patrolman spots the drunk stumbling down the sidewalk and call officers to investigate. Officers respond and start searching the neighborhood, but don’t find the guy before he enters a house.

    The drunk, having entered the house, heads for the bedroom. The homeowner calls 911 and the dispatcher does his best to distract the caller so he is will be unable to defend himself. In spite of the clueless 911 operator and the fact that the homeowner is partially deaf and is not wearing his hearing aid, he is able to respond to the inane questions of the operator and shoot and kill the attacker as he breaks through the bedroom door.

    At this point the 911 operator’s biggest concern is getting the couple out of the house as quickly as possible, carrying the gun, but he has to lock the dog up first because cops are afraid of dogs and like to shoot them.

    Now this is the best part. When the couple goes outside, more than six minutes after calling 911, the police, who were already in the neighborhood searching for the drunk, are helplessly driving back and forth up the street, unable to locate the house.

    Officers finally arrive at the scene. The homeowner is fortunate they didn’t shoot him for carrying his weapon.

    Man, this one just convinced me — if I ever have to call 911 to report a home invasion, I’m dropping the phone as soon as they have my address. I’ll have a neighbor wait outside for when Barney arrives.

  8. That 911 operator = total tool… If they had to have someone play the part in a movie of the gov’t drone saying “We are the Government and we are here to help you” this guy should get the part.

    • There are some um interesting people who live in the Portland OR/Vancouver WA area. Recently, a Portland librarian whose job it is to sit at the front desk in a nice air-conditioned building checking out books for patrons, complained to me about the difficulty of her her job.

  9. Dispatchers don’t always have the right answer. If it were me, off duty and in my own house, I would stay on the line and tell them this-

    “I’m in a bedroom at (location) part of the house. I’m going to stay here until the police arrive, let them know where I am. Tell them that when I hear them announce themselves, I will put my weapon down and stand up with my hands empty. Please tell me when they arrive, so I know it’s not another bad guy.” Make sure they have a good description of you and if the bad guy is down, tell them where.

    When I hear the announcement from outside (and hopefully the dispatcher is decent enough to tell me when they arrive), then I will do exactly what I said, and call out loudly something to let the police know where I am. “Friendlies in the bedroom, I’m unarmed,” or something like that. If the bad guy is still moving, “bad guy is down but he’s still alive,” and especially if you’re worried about the police screwing up, if you’re still on with 911, there’s an audio record of you loudly trying to give fair warning about where you are to avoid getting yourself shot.

    Stay calm and try to remember, just as better situational awareness can steer you away from panic, it can do the same for police. Who have likely never met you before, have likely never been in your house before, and may well have never had to fire in anger before.

    • Of course, dispatchers won’t always have the “right answer.”

      But there’s a world of difference between “not the right answer” and “an answer so obviously stupid on it’s face that it borders on criminal malfeasance.”

      This dispatcher was offering the latter.

  10. What bugs me is the dispatcher asks the man to send his wife to the front door not knowing if any other baddies are in the house. The guy got in the house some way, the cops should see that and follow suit. Everyone should stay put and wait for the uniforms. Terrible dispatcher.

    • +1!
      Why bother to even call the cops if you’re supposed to send your unarmed wife out of your secure bedroom to finish clearing the dwelling?

      • use good quality high velocity ammo. and as with any 22 autoloader you have to pay attention to how you load the rounds into the mag to avoid rimlock. the p22 has a rep for being ammo sensitive and mine was.

        • I’m not sure what rimlock is though it seems like it is nothing a man would want to experience.

        • aharon, rimlock can occur from the design of 22 ammo,. it was designed for revolvers in a time when autos didn’t exist. when you load the ammo into a stick mag pay attention and position each round so that the rim of the shell is in front of the rim of the shell you loaded before. if each round is loaded so that each rim is in front of the one below the rounds will feed into the chamber without hanging on the rim of the next shell.

    • I had the same problem with mine. It took awhile to find ammo it would cycle reliably. I think the design of the magazine is what causes that problem – it doesn’t position most hollowpoints at the correct angle to chamber properly.

    • P22 jams? Try better ammo. I have had 2 out of 1500 rnds. Both were in the first 50 fired.
      Speaking of fired…. This dispatcher. Sen my wife to clear the house. Ass

    • Or sell it and get an SR-22. Nearly identical to the P22, but none of the problems. I love mine, it’s more accurate than I am and eats whatever I feed it. Just don’t feed it a steady diet of Thunderbolts. That tends to cause indigestion in the form of horrible lead fouling that takes hours to remove and ruins brushes. Ask me how I know.

  11. I once read that the thing to do is dial 911, state the threat, your location, and a brief description of the good guys, then drop the phone (without breaking the connection).

    After listening to this call, I’m thinking that is really good advice. The last thing I need or want is that idiot blathering in my ear.

  12. That 911 operator was such a jerk, and annoying as sh!t. “what type of gun are you armed with?” Who the f cares? Just STFU unless I need something from you, and send the damn cops.

  13. Wow. It must be a hard life, being Barney Fife’s dumber brother and all. The dispatcher is aware that the home invader may get up, and he demonstrates this by instructing the homeowner to take the firearm with him, but also instructs the homeowner to unload it, because? Fvck you, we’re the police, that’s why. I guess he assumes that the homeowner is now going to go on a rampage and just start killing everyone. What a tool.

  14. Did anyone else notice that the husband sounds just like Leo from That 70’s Show? The 911 operator was a real idiot.

  15. If a caller reporting a DGU to 911 lives in an anti-gun area with insane anti-gun rules for use I have read some suggestions elsewhere online to hang-up after making the call since every call is recorded and can be used against you, just saying.

    • They will definitely spend a lot of time retro-quarterbacking your decisions and words if they have a 911 tape.
      Call, report an intruder, give the address (especially if on a cell phone) and then click. 911 hangups like that will get the cops there at the same rate as staying on the phone with some fool who keeps asking if the murdering madman is in your house or not.

      Jeez how many times did he tell them he was standing outside his bedroom door?

      • But if the homeowner hangs up, it won’t record the part where the cops shoot him and then try to get their stories straight.
        If Tony Arambula would have hung up the phone he would still have been shot by the cops, but would not have the money he needs for medical treatment.

  16. First of all, what the hell is with shitty audio on 911 tapes? I don’t think I’ve ever heard one that was “clear audio.” I’m not talking about the chaos at the far end, dogs barking, people screaming, I’m talking about the whole thing. The operator who is so overdriven that their voice is distorted and at times almost incomprehensible. I don’t understand it.

    Second, “He’s down, he’s not moving, I want the weapon secured.” Well, with all due respect, screw you. You’re not in the room with him, I am, and the weapon will be secured in my hand until the police arrive. I will tell you where I am and how I’m dressed, and when they get here and identify themselves, I’ll be happy to put it down. Until then, nuh uh.

    • And if you’re in Phoenix and your name is Tony Arambula the police will shoot you for doing precisely that.

  17. I listened to the audio of the 911 call. The 911 operator is a moron. In addition to the fact that the homeowner had to tell him everything three times, the 911 operator gave them horrible directions. The 911 operator tells the homeowners to:
    (1) go unlock the front door
    (2) unload their gun
    (3) go outside
    (4) hold the barrel of his gun and point the barrel at himself

    Those first three directions are incredibly dangerous. The homeowners had no way of knowing if there were more criminals inside or outside the home … thus walking around in the dark, hard of hearing, and with an unloaded gun is stupid. The stupidity of the last direction should be obvious.

    And we have to realize that the 911 operator was distracting the homeowner when he should have paid all of his attention to what was happening in his home. I agree. Call 911 and leave the phone off the hook. Let the 911 operator figure everything out that way.

  18. I don’t even know how to respond to this other than that 911 operator is an asshole. The crook could have easily had partners and he’s telling him to send his wife to check the front freaking door, to lock his dog up, and to unload his gun???? Before the cops even get there???? Before the situation is reasonably secure????

    Despicable human being!

    -D

  19. Something seems missing here. One second, there’s a guy trying to break into his bedroom. The next second, he’s bleeding out on the ground. How did the recording not pick up the gun shot(s).

    • looks like the walther p22. a 22 caliber auto, this one appears to have the longer 5 inch barrel with a compensator on it. i had the shorter uncompensated version. handy little pistol but a pita to strip and clean.

  20. Wow. …the homeowners seem really calm after Having to kill someone attempting to break in their bedroom. Their Adrinalin must have been through the roof.

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