73-Year-Old Homeowner Kills Two Armed Robbers: Defensive Gun Use of the Day


An [unnamed] active 73-year-old retiree was well liked in his South St. Louis neighborhood. He helped people out. He spent much of his time in his garage working on his truck. The retiree had been a victim of robbery attempts before. The armed homeowner was in his garage, working on his truck, when two men entered with guns drawn. From fox2now.com:

A 73-year-old man told police that he shot the suspects after they attempted to rob him. Investigators say that the man was inside of his garage when the suspects entered the door and displayed their guns. Police say that one of the suspects held a gun to the victim’s head and demanded the victim back up.

The victim said he got out his gun and, fearing for his safety, shot at the men. Police say that the victim’s gun and the guns used by the suspects were recovered from the scene. The gun recovered from Jonathan Warren was reported stolen on Sunday by the Florissant Police Department.

The homeowner’s marksmanship didn’t let him down. The two dead robbers, Jonathan Warren, 18, and Lonnie Middlebrook, 20, had significant criminal histories. No surprise there. From stltoday comments:

Case.net shows these two were certainly not on the path to stellar citizenship. Middlebrook already had charges pending on unlawful possession of a firearm over the summer. The other guy had charges for elder abuse and property damage with intent to steal. Plus it looks like they both had several run-ins with MetroLink.

The retiree was not hit. It’s not clear who fired how many shots; the 73-year-old fired at least two. Police say it appears to be clear-cut self defense, and no charges are expected.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Link to Gun Watch


  1. avatar William says:

    Well hell yeah! Good shooting Tex!

    1. avatar nativeson says:

      He deserves a medal.

  2. avatar Nine says:

    I just got a warm, fuzzy feeling from reading this story.

  3. avatar Ralph says:

    Memo to thugs: Beware the old guy with one truck in his garage and one gun within his reach.

    Ignore this advice and you won’t live to his age, or even to see your next birthday.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “No trial, no reports to file…”

      -Harry Callahan

    2. avatar Doug says:

      Well, they won’t have to worry about whether Social Security will be there for them….

  4. avatar A Brit in TX says:

    Wasn’t this same story posted yesterday?

    I remember posting something witty yet thought provoking and informational……….

    1. avatar Vhyrus says:

      It was posted as a comment underneath another article, which is probably why it’s on here today.

      1. avatar A Brit in TX says:

        You’re right, my bad!!!

        Anyway, great job by the homeowner, his actions may well have saved not only his life but those of the potential future victims of the two perps.

  5. avatar Swilson says:

    Good, fvck ’em. They deserve it for being human predators and not letting an old man live in peace.

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      IN some areas of the desert west, where water is scarce, the rest areas use composting outhouses rather than flush toilets. I heard a radio guy comment one day that perps such as this should be cremated by the State and their ashes placed in such facilities, with their names posted prominently over the door.

      1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        In many places from Wyoming west to the Sierras, rest stop toilets are just pit toilets.

  6. avatar Aaron M. Walker says:

    Notice of course…The local PD confiscated his pistol…Probably with the promise theu would “protect him” while they investigate…
    — —— ——— ————— —- ———–
    (Excerpt- 5th amendment: “No property shall be taken for public use without just compensation for the property taken….”)

    1. avatar JasonM says:

      The story didn’t say they confiscated his gun, just that it was recovered at the scene. (Maybe he dropped it during a struggle and was too injured to recover it himself.
      If they did confiscate it, it should only be for the duration of the investigation. Once they finish, they’ll likely make it available for him to pick up. Whether that pick up requires simply filling out some paperwork, or hiring a lawyer and going to court, depends on how gun-friendly the local government is.

    2. avatar jwm says:

      This is why you keep at least one gun off site, along with ammo. Just in case your guns get taken by the cops, you have a back up.

    3. avatar Pseudo says:

      Same thing happened to me in a DGU at my house. Police had my Glock for over a year eventually resulting in my purchase of a P30. Just sat languishing in evidence even though it was my gun, I was never charged, and they couldn’t possibly have needed it for the perp’s trial. Fortunately I know an assistant DA and was able to get a letter releasing it from the police armory… Crazy times.

  7. avatar Lucas D. says:

    A good shoot if there ever was one. They threatened his life, he used the minimum amount of force necessary to put a stop to it, and his hands are clean by the laws of God and man both. Obviously, this means we’re gonna get at least one insufferable know-it-all who shows up to armchair quarterback and second-guess the old man’s DGU.

    Can’t wait to see who it is this time.

    1. avatar Kroglikepie says:

      Oh! Lemme do it!

      He should have used a .45 ACP so as to kill their soul too. Therefore no worries about ghosts, séances, or God having to judge them.

      How did I do?

      1. avatar Doug says:

        Silver bullets, “Winchester-style”?

    2. avatar James in AZ says:

      Just when I thought to myself you are finally making some sense…

  8. avatar Billy says:

    St Louis is a little safer today…

  9. avatar former water walker says:

    YAY! I hope the young miscreants didn’t reproduce…?

    1. avatar 16V says:

      18 and 20 years old, on the road to prison. Responsible behavior was not in the wheelhouse. Good shoot, I was hoping this story made it here.

      Oh yeah.. CUBS WIN!!!!!

  10. avatar strych9 says:

    Well… they won’t be doing that again.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      ^ This!

      The two armed thugs are not around any more to rob, beat, or rape anyone else.

      The homeowner should get an award.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        Ever stop to think that just maybe, the homeowner killed the next Nils Bohr, or Max Planck? Done too soon?

        1. avatar Gordon in MO says:

          While that is possible it is very unlikely.

          With their record they were not headed the direction of productive citizens, they were well on the way to being long term prisoners.

        2. avatar LarryinTX says:

          Costing taxpayers $38,000/year, each.

  11. avatar Sam I Am says:

    This should be an interesting case, but looks like it won’t be. Seem to remember reading someting here about a man who shot a burglar in the homeowner’s garage, and the local authorities determined that a garage is not a “home”, or “dwelling”; homeowner charged with murder.

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      Big difference between armed robbery and burglary.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        Does burglary while having a gun qualify for robbery? Or for robbery, must the victim be directly attacked?

        1. avatar Anner says:

          The BGs put a gun to the good guy’s head. At that point, classification of the original crime is OBE.

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          Yes, an argument can be made that the victim was presented with deadly force, and location doesn’t matter.

        3. avatar Jeff in CO says:

          To answer your question, this was a robbery, not a burglary. I was an LEO here in CO for a long time. There are three charges that people confuse: robbery; burglary; theft.

          (I’m using the CRS for these paraphrased definitions. You can look up the complete statutes for more detail.)

          There are two parts to a crime: elements of a crime & mental state (mens rea).

          Robbery – A person “knowingly” takes an item of value with the use of force, threats, or intimidation (and in CO, aggravated robbery involves a deadly weapon).

          Burglary – (I’ll be referring to our 2nd degree, which is the most common, 1st degree involves a person arming their self with a deadly weapon) A person “knowingly” enters or unlawfully remains in a building or occupied structure to commit a crime against a person or property.

          Theft – A person “knowingly” takes something of value from another person with the intent to permanently deprive them of that value.

          These are quick paraphrases from memory, and there are many subsections, but it breaks down the basic differences.

          In that other case you are referring, it was a burglary in progress in his garage. The homeowner fired into the garage through the garage door ambushing the suspects. In this case, it may have started off as a burglary, but once they approached the homeowner and used force against him, it became a robbery. There isn’t one state that I’m aware of that doesn’t allow you to protect yourself during a robbery (I know, New York gun prohibitions, but I’m talking about using deadly force of any kind). Hopefully this helps clarify this!

    2. avatar Chad says:

      In this case the guy was in his garage and they put a gun to his head. I think the story you are recalling the guy was in his house while thieves were in his garage and he went out and shot them.

      1. avatar Bob R says:

        There was a guy who staged a set-up to lure theives into his garage so he could shoot them. He’s in jail now.

    3. avatar Alan Esworthy says:

      That sounds iffy. Garages are pretty much always considered curtilage.

      1. avatar 16V says:

        The Supremes ruled that way in the mid ’80s.

        I can’t imagine how hell-bent on charging someone a DA would have to be to attempt to claim a home’s garage, attached or not, is not curtilage.

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          In my corner of the country, more than one DA declared they will charge a gun owner with a crime for using a gun inside the town boundaries. Just to prove the point that guns are not wanted. Those same DAs admitted they might lose cases in self-defense matters, but banrupting the gun owner will be a satisfactory victory.

    4. avatar Jp says:

      I believe it was in a detached garage if I remember correctly.

      1. avatar 16V says:

        That area of STL is all detached garages in alleys, unless it’s newish construction. Much of the housing in the Bevo Mill area was built in the 1910s.

    5. avatar jwm says:

      The case I remember is the homeowner that baited a trap in his garage and then waited to see who bit. That one got emotional.

  12. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

    It seems that a large portion of violent criminals don’t put in the necessary study/practice for their trade-craft.

  13. avatar The Gray Poseur says:

    Good stuff, Mr. Weingarten. Keep ’em coming.

  14. avatar BlackoutFan says:

    It always amuses me that, in cases like this, the deceased are considered ‘suspects’. It’s not like they can be charged with anything. Maybe their next of kin can… However, they simply are ‘the deceased’. I can’t think of a reason why they would ever be ‘suspects’. Perhaps ‘perpetrators’..

    Anyhow, sounds like a good shoot, and hopefully the unnamed person will get a citizens award for heroism and at least a thank you from his neighbors.

    1. avatar James in AZ says:

      To the govt there are only 2 kinds of people in this country — convicts and suspects.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        No subjects?

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          From government standpoint, same-same.

  15. avatar Jon in CO says:

    The fact the article has to state “no charges are expected to be filed” is the problem. Two adult males are armed and attacking a senior citizen, and they have the gall to say that shit.

    Glad he’s unharmed, and glad he put rounds where they needed to be.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      Standard operating procedure. The police do an investigation and make a recommendation to the DA when the investigation is complete. The DA then decides whether or not to file charges.

      1. avatar Bob R says:

        If the system is truly supposed to be innocent until proven guilty is it still necessary to state that charges are not expected to be filed?

        1. avatar Pseudo says:

          Charges have absolutely nothing to do with that statement. In a court of law, defendants are innocent until proven guilty. If that were applicable to the DA filing charges and there was the necessity of actual proof, there would be no need for trials.

  16. avatar Aaron Watson says:

    The “Armed Citizen” column in the American Rifleman magazine has been my favorite
    column for close to 50 years.

    I never tire of good stories with happy endings like this.

  17. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    I’ll bet the old man didn’t even know how to operate. Probably doesn’t own a single article of 5.11 clothing.

    Yet, he still got the job done.

    The one take-away was that he had a gun either on him or very close by when the two thugs stopped by for a visit.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “The one take-away was that he had a gun either on him or very close by when the two thugs stopped by for a visit.”

      Home (and garage) carry, people…

      1. avatar CueBaller says:

        IIRC, the first article on this shooting stated that he was pocket carrying.

    2. avatar Dave Lewis says:

      Probably no under armor logo shorts or t shirts either.

    3. avatar Sam I Am says:

      It is a conundrum. Seems so few self-defense shootings are the result of highly trained gun owners. Yet there is a general acceptance of the signal need for adequate equipment and training.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        If a gun owner can safely handle his firearm of choices that’s adequate training. We handle our guns on a daily basis. We rarely get into shoot outs.

        All the “operator” training supplied by “ex navy seals”, is just sport. The money spent on these weekend boot camps would be better spent securing the home against intruders. The best gun fight is the one you never have.

        Own and carry a gun. Safely. All the rest tends to work out.

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          I get it about the commando training, but what of the on-going training by NRA instructors (Advanced Pistol, Protection In/Out of the Home, etc). Worth the entertainment?

    4. avatar Gordon in MO says:

      A man of that age could very well be a combat veteran with a good understanding of how to “operate”.

      He demonstrated how to do it.

  18. avatar Keystone says:

    I love stories with happy endings.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      Eh, I bet all that dried blood and guts was a royal PITA to clean up…

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        You got that right. Once worked for a company that supplied chemicals to a company who could provide complete clean-up for business or residential locations where a shooting happened. Very expensive service (and supplies) due to the limited marketplace. The home/business owner had to deal with the “blood and guts” until the service company arrived (24/7 service). For a host of unrelated reasons, that company is defunct, now. Had some interesting stories while they were open.

        On TV, there is never a clean-up crew. Never a survivor who is left alone to overcome the physical aftermath. (distantly related, read up on the aftermath of the Gettysburg battle, once the armies moved on).

  19. avatar Another Tom in Oregon says:

    Hmmm. Lived for 15 years 2 miles from the scene.

    Me and Mr. PPK used to cut the grass together.

    1. avatar 16V says:

      Good you’re out. Mr. PPK (of which I’m a fan mind you) would be a little low on rounds for the current “issues” in the Bevo Area. You think it was dicey when the Catholic Church in their infinite wisdom brought a bunch of Bosnians in from the war zone and all the trouble that brought? Pales in comparison to the “groups of children” (violent gangs of black teens) who are basically beating anyone (especially whites) they can and just walking away.

      ‘Natch buried in the back of the paper, and doesn’t even get mention on the local TV news.

      1. avatar Another Tom in Oregon says:

        Oh, I’ve tooled up since then, big time. Become a fan of .44 Mag and 454 Casull. A little hard to conceal though.
        This was during the time of the “Handgun Purchase Permit”, to which the city Sheriff added (Illegally) the requirement for the two “character letters” before taking the permit application. Suppressed the desire to add to the collection.

        Never considered the Bosnians any trouble. I’ve heard they’re now more victims than perps.

        1. avatar 16V says:

          Bosnians as victims? Yeah, there’s been a few. Retaliation was swift and brutal (that didn’t make the news). As always, there are those who come, and want to be honest, decent Americans. I have no issue with them.

          The rest? It’s just the Eastern European criminal/thug class. After 25 years they’ve become deeply embedded in drugs, prostitution, and the rest. Trading gunfire out of gauchely adorned BMWs down Gravois at River Despair now happens – like being in North City. They’re about 2 notches out of 10 better than Gypsies. This is just another place for them to loot. They can do whatever they want, nobody in “the community” will talk to the cops, and when the heat gets too high, they can run back to Eastern Europe and become invisible.

          I have Ukranian and Russian friends (who are US citizens now). For the most part they avoid their “own people” like the plague. They know that their old countrymen are generally up to the same hijinks they used to commit in the old country. Bosnians are no different. If they’re all living together, they have no desire to assimilate, they just want to turn our country into the same shithole they came from. See: Little Odessa…

  20. avatar GS650G says:

    Googled for their mugshots. Not exactly investment bankers or lawyer types.

  21. avatar Racer88 says:

    Home carry. Yup.

  22. avatar Steve says:

    We shouldn’t assume the victim fired two shots. I once killed two squirrels with one round from my Henry.

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