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In Leavenworth, Kansas, this week, a 74-year-old woman was sound asleep with her .22 handgun when a burglar forced his way into her home. The handgun was a recently acquired bedfellow: The woman had bought it after reporting an attempted burglary just one week prior to this incident.

It was about 1:15 a.m. when Ralph Byrd Jr., age 41, woke the woman by breaking into the home. The woman (whose name has been withheld for her safety) immediately dialed 9-1-1. The operator was on the phone with her as Byrd made his way up the stairs. Unexpectedly, the elderly woman was waiting for him on the second floor. She met him with a single shot to the head, which proved fatal.

“It was pretty cut and dried,” said Leavenworth Police Major Dan Nicodemus. “She called 911. She stayed on the phone. She confronted the burglar and she defended herself.”

Right after pulling the trigger, the woman began suffering a heart attack. Fortunately, the police and medical personnel were already on their way to her home. When they arrived, they were able to transport her to the hospital

“Obviously,” Leavenworth County Attorney Todd Thompson announced, “the county attorney is not going to file charges against the 74-year-old woman.”

According to court records, the deceased Mr. Byrd had already been convicted of an attempted burglary in 2017.

The woman’s neighbor, Jeff Marrin, says she’s lived on his block for over 10 years. It’s a quiet neighborhood, where most of the homes are close to 100 years old, and the neighbors try to look out for one another

“I’m very proud of [the woman],” Marrin said. “I’m glad she’s safe.”

We couldn’t agree more.

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    • That’s what I can agree on with the “gun control issue”, select your target and squeeze slowly, that is gun control at it’s fineest

      • Amen!

        I quiver when I hear people speak of “pulling the trigger” v. “squeezing the trigger.” Those who utter the former clearly haven’t the foggiest about using handguns!

        • During a high adrenaline situation, such as this, I can not guarantee that I would beable to “squeeze” the trigger as needed I would most likely “pull” the trigger.

        • Likewise, Erik! lol … if anything, the shot will be a little lower than intended (what happens when I pull vs. squeeze). Maybe it does damage that isn’t lethal, but will be life-changing anyway.

        • Really? I’m no slouch and I say “pulling the trigger” but then again I also say “the sun is going down” and I think that might be inaccurate.

        • It’s just a figure of speech. I wouldn’t make that kind of judgement about somebody who says they pulled the trigger.

        • I do both…in sequence.

          The first two round are to try to get the assailant moving and fire supriority. The third is well aimed.

  1. “.22 handgun . . . The woman had bought it . . . just one week prior to this incident. . . . . She met him with a single shot to the head, which proved fatal.”

    There you go! Proves conclusively that ordinary citizens without years of expert training – you know, like all police get – can’t possibly defend themselves with firearms.

    Center mass; at least 45 ACP. She will probably never learn to become a really effective gunfighter.

    • She will probably never learn to become a really effective gunfighter.

      One gunfight, one headshot, one dead perp.

      I really don’t see anything to criticize here.

        • “May have been”?

          I realize you were being tactful, but com’on! The lackwit(s) to whom you were responding don’t deserve such consideration. They are/were clearly too thick to grasp the mirthful nature of MarkPA’s comment(s), which was/were clearly obvious. Such dolts need to be rudely smacked awake.

    • All of the following civilian disarmament canards would have injured the victim well beyond the severe psychological trauma of having a male home invader advancing on you in the middle of the night:
      — duty to retreat
      — required training course
      — required minimum marksmanship ability
      — 10-day waiting period before purchasing firearm
      — just giving the attacker what he wants
      — waiting for police to incapacitate the attacker
      — keep her firearm unloaded and locked in a safe
      — refuse to own a firearm since her attacker would “use it against her”
      And for all we know she would not have passed a physical (sight or strength) or psychological test.

      Instead, this nice lady was able to simply purchase a revolver immediately and use it immediately and effectively against an advancing home invader. And she did it without any training and without any marksmanship practice. Sounds like a total win to me.

      Yet another example which destroys many of the civilian disarmament clarion calls.

      • Ah, so true … and this story will of course never see the light of day in any propaganda machine / media. Totally wrecks the fictions of gun control, thus not allowed to be spoken of again.

      • Your list is perilously incomplete, missing the most important one: –store ammunition separate from firearms, under lock and at least in another room from the guns.

  2. “Obviously” we’re not filing charges against her.

    The fact that they even had to say that is the problem. Poor old lady, by herself, reported the same incident a week prior, arms up, shoots dude who (probably was the same one a week prior) comes in.

    Glad she’s ok.

    • Yeah, “Obviously”. So the county Attorney isn’t going to file charges against an elderly lady. Does that mean there’s an unwritten limit as to who can or cannot defend themselves? So if some felon breaks into another person’s castle and heads straight toward the area most likely to be inhabited, the person under threat must first evaluate whether they, personally, meet the standard of age, gender, meekness, and defenselessness that would lead the county attorney to believe that it was “Obvious” that they be allowed to defend themselves?
      I don’t care if it was Chuck Norris standing in the dark at the top of the stairs with phone in hand, I would think anyone in that situation would “obviously” have the right to respond in the same manner as a 74 year old lady with a weak heart.
      BTW: Just goes to prove that shot placement trumps caliber every time. You Go Girl!

  3. .22 is a little weak for defence. I had .32 for long time. But several years ago bought a .38 I am much more comfortable with that. Would rather have a .45 but not enough strength to hold steady. The .38. I can hold steady and when I practice can pull it, cock it and usually have in 3 inch pattern in around 3 seconds. I do not carry round in chamber.
    Fought a war so believe would not hesitate to shoot.

    • A .22LR to the noggin at very close to contact range is a classic method of execution. Many Russian political prisoners died with one behind the ear and a finishing shot on the ground. Very small holes, little blood loss. And it makes scrambled eggs of the brain. The .22 is very popular with assassins as it, when suppressed, is extremely quiet.

        • I carried something similar to the Black Widow for awhile. Nothing smaller, had it loaded with 5 .22 Stingers. At close range, a hell of a little punch to something not bigger than a keychain. Your Black Widow has the magnum — that thing must have quite a kick to it, and nothing to feel ‘inadequate’ about when carrying it!

        • For sure, and better a shot in the leg with a .22, maybe a few more shots sprinkled around the perp, than ‘please don’t hurt me!’ … If that is ‘all’ someone wants to carry or own, fantastic. Own it. Carry it. It has lethal force. And it’s far better than baseball bats, waving a kitchen knife, waiting for 911, or pleading for your life. Don’t beg. Shoot the fuckers.

          Oh wait, I forgot — the greatest defense of all against the criminals: GUN FREE ZONE signs on your front door.

          For all the stupid MF’ers who think gun-free zones at schools — signs posted everywhere — are such great ideas, why not extend it to your home? have ’em in your front windows, a sign in your front yard, decals on your car: ‘gun free zones.’

          I carry a .40 caliber, sometimes a .357. I’ve carried .22, a little Beretta 21A. Can get off 8 shots in about 3 seconds. I like bigger calibers, I like higher capacity, and I don’t feel unprepared with the 21A.

          Just own a gun, carry a gun, keep a gun near you at night, and be ready and willing to use it.

          This lady’s story is a good one to share with friends, family, and on other sites.

        • Totally agree!

          People – biased against anything THEY don’t carry or shoot – simply don’t grasp the concept of practice – practice – practice AND center point targeting. I’ve learned, and taught, a simple system of “climbing the ladder” – center shots from belly to chest to head.

          A .22, striking the throat (trachea), either internal or external carotids, or jugular veins, will most likely result in stopping the perp in great hurry. Of benefit to hitting the face is the unconscious impulse for the hands to go to the face. This temporarily blinds the person with their own hands, enabling the victim to 1) escape, or 2) more carefully aim for a 2nd, 3rd, etc. shot.

          The poor souls who blather on about “stopping power” don’t understand self-defense very well. The goal is not to kill – it is to end the threat. If death results, so be it – but, it is NOT the intent in self-defense.


        • I like the belly to head progression. I’m going to try that next time I go to the range. Thanks for the note on that!

        • @ECPatriot “a simple system of “climbing the ladder” – center shots from belly to chest to head”
          I have taught a few women that technique with a shotgun. Inside the house close range type of stuff. First shot is aimed crotch level, recoil, belly, recoil, chest!

      • That lil .22 inside of the bad guy’s noggin was no doubt bouncing around like being inside of a pinball machine, excellent job on her part, he picked the wrong house that night !!!

    • .38 or .380? Unless you’re packing a .38 Super or .380 of course you’re not keeping a round chambered, with a .38 spl revolver it would be hard to not have one “chambered” due to the cylinder that carries the rounds.

      • Why would a round not be chambered in a .380?

        I carry a PPS 9mm w/120 gr. hollow points. My back-up is a .380 w/95 gr. hollow points. (NOTE: I never carry one weapon – EVER).

        Both of my carry handguns are chambered + full mag. If one knows their weapons, one knows the wisdom of “keeping one in the pipe!”

    • Assuming that .38 is a revolver instead of some oddball like the old Colt Gold Cups, There is no need to keep the chamber under the hammer empty. That’s for old single actions, or sometimes even older double actions that still have no transfer bar, rebound slide, or similar system to block the firing pin from the primer unless the trigger is pulled.
      It is real easy to tell. Just unload the revolver, pull the trigger and, still holding the trigger fully to the rear, look through the side of the gun right behind the cylinder though the slight gap where the rear of the cylinder mates to the frame. You should see the firing pin protruding from the frame and into the cylinder between that gap. Once you are in position and can see the firing pin, release the trigger. You should see the firing pin retract back into the frame, no longer in contact with a round, had one been there in the first place.
      If the firing pin does NOT retract, but remains in the forward(firing) position, that gun is NOT safe to carry with all chambers loaded. Dropping that kind of firearm on the hammer(or any other impact to the hammer) definitely WILL create a discharge, assuming there is a live round under the firing pin.

    • “.22 is a little weak for defense.”

      There is at least one criminal who would tell you otherwise. Actually, he can’t tell you anything because he was killed. By a .22. A single .22.

      • lol … hard to say the .22 is a little weak for defense — one shot killed the guy! umm … would a 9mm or .45 have killed him more? Not really likely.

        • lol … so they say, and I like the saying! Picked up a Glock 21 a couple months ago. Shot 150 rounds through it yesterday. Recoil doesn’t seem much different than the 9mm, and it’s a pretty accurate gun when I shoot it properly. haven’t carried it yet. Waiting for my holster to show up.

          Hell, I just want whoever it is, should it ever happen, to be dead! Whatever does the trick! I’ll let God deal with his / her soul on the other side!

      • Fundamental Rule of Self-Defense:

        Select and master the weapon you can best, comfortably handle. My wife has a .22 semi-auto – one in the pipe, 10 in the mag. When we go to the range, the guys stop and watch as she cuts a 1.5″ grouping at 15 feet. She rehearses for home self-defense religiously. Our emergency plan is in place.

        NOTE: she also, at nighttime, has a youth .410 loaded with self-defense rounds.

        I have every confidence in her ability to self-protect, whether I’m home with her or not. Part of the Psych Drill (mental preparation) is for her to constantly reminder herself the perp is going to do harm to our grandkids.

        She’ll shoot!

    • “.22 is a little weak for defence,”
      Well this little old lady just proved you wrong. Personally, I am looking for a .50BMG suppressed pistol with stabilizing brace for home defense now that I discovered someone makes a .50BMG bullpup.

    • “The woman had bought it after reporting an attempted burglary just one week prior to this incident.”
      There you have the reason why we need a lot of time for a lot of background checks. 3-7 years minimum.
      There’s no way we can continue to allow people to shoot criminals in self defense. What’d ya think this is, a FREE country? How are us criminals supposed to make a dishonest living?
      /sarc off… for now/

  4. No snake eater training? No AR15 with 30 magazine bullets? Did she pass a ubc? A mental health eval before buying that deadly weapon?

    Respect for the old lady with the deuce-deuce. She’s now a better qualified gun fighter than most of the ‘experts’ here.

  5. Byrd was convicted of attempted burglary in 2017. One year ago. What’s he doing walking free?

    We can practice, practice, practice … but the old gal reminds us that a .22, in an unpracticed hand, to the head does the trick.

    I go to the range once or twice a month. I practice at 5, 7, 10, 15, 25 yards with my Glocks. Always quite aware that if it ever comes down to it, it’ll be a few feet, a few yards at best, between me and whomever. I go to the range not to become a marksman. I do it because it’s fun. If the occasion ever arises that I need to fire in self defense, I hope I handle it pretty much like that gal did.

      • I’m thinking that a person of her age and living in Kansas, probably means she has prior experience with firearms. I was raised in what used to be the dairy farm area of northwest NJ and pretty much all of us youngin’s learned about guns as early as 8 years of age. My mom taught me to shoot, because dad was far off with with wife and family #2.

      • I can almost guarantee he got probation instead of time to serve. Probation costs the state $2-3 per day per offender compared to the price of $75+ per day per offender for incarceration. Unfortunate but true.

  6. FACTS:

    22 is effective for self defense
    22 is lethal
    You don’t need training
    Waiting periods keep people defenseless
    Women can defend themselves
    Seniors can defend themselves
    Police show up after the fact

    Does that cover all the anti gun bs? If not add more

  7. Perhaps she had a .22 magnum revolver? Either way he was drt.
    You go Granny.

    He must have stood there a bit figured he could take his time and take the gun away from an old lady, WRONG.

  8. Great story! A gun beats no gun.

    Of course the article shows a revolver but nothing I read here or in the Leavenworth Times identified the handgun. So it could have been an auto.

    Regardless, another real-world lesson that self defense does not take years of training, a full beard, and yards of tattoos.

    It takes will and a means to defend.

    Well done, lady.

  9. It took 41 years for the burglar to get capped. I wonder how many crimes he committed in his lifetime. However many was one too many, and now the world is done with Ralph Byrd Jr. Good riddance.

  10. Good for her…yeah training is a good idea but the willingness to shoot the bastard supersedes instructor zero. I hope this doesn’t haunt her.

    • You go Vic. I don’t understand why people have to pick everything to death. Bad guy is where he needs to be, little ole lady is safe, and think God the ordeal
      Didn’t let the heart attack when either. Any weapon is better than nothing when it’s needed. the good won yet once more.

  11. if she lived in California, she’d probably be dead or in the hospital. 10 day waiting period. her previous incident was a week earlier. but hey, got to have that ‘cooling off’ period, even if it costs a law abiding citizen their life

  12. That lil .22 no doubt bounced around inside of his noggin like a steel ball inside of a pinball machine. Good job on grannies part !!! No need to waste tax payers money and time on a trial. He definitely picked the wrong house that night.

  13. Single shoot to the head, bad dead right there. She could teach a lot of cops a thing or two. And I wouldn’t want to be the one my 75 year old mom points her Ruger Mk 1at either.

  14. No! According to VOX news this woman shouldn’t have been able to purchase or possess this firearm. Just a reminder…
    Liberal Vox news exclaims that US Constitutional Infringements and Authoritarianism are the way to go for nationwide gun control. Points to Massachusetts Draconian gun control schemes that discourage gun ownership as best for the nation.

  15. Did he smile and wait for the flash?

    These stories always ram home the fact that while all the tacticool training is nice to have, you don’t necessarily need it for home defense. Decent training is always a plus, but the vast majority of us are not trying to be tier one operators or Marine Force Recon or the SAS or any of that. By far the biggest skill we need is to pay attention to our surroundings. My wife is often surprised at the things I notice and point out to her, stuff that she missed when she looked past it. Admittedly when we are out and about, she has repeatedly stated that my job is protection while she minds the tiny terror. (There is a reason he’s nicknamed “Destructoboy”)

  16. Had she not killed him but she died as a result of her coronary incident, he probably would have faced a charge of Felony Murder.

    Good on her to save the people of Kansas the cost of the trial.

    The only thing better would be if is was a .22 Short + a Moe Green.

  17. Well, I guess that proves that a well place round from a .22 will do the trick. A good choice for someone whose grip might not be strong and who can’t deal with heavy recoil. Good for her and very glad she survived the heart attack.

    • Early this year, on another site, someone who said he lived in Sweden, said they were prohibited from carrying baseball bats in their car, unless they could show that they were going to a baseball game.

      Communists are doing their best to take away all methods of defense. In most of Europe, the muslims are the tools to destroy all of Western civilization, and they’ve done a very good job of it. Guns, knives, baseball bats. And the muslim hordes keep flooding in.

  18. I grew up in farm country. I’ve seen .22s kill pigs, cows, horses and dogs amongst many other critters. Is the .22 perfect? No. But neither is any other gun.

    There are 2 main concerns when using a .22. The first is reliability of the ammo. Rimfire tends to produce more mis fires than center fire. But modern ammo is getting that part better. The second is loading a bullet magazine for a fully semi auto .22 pistol. One needs to take extra care with the widget to see that it does not cause a stoppage by rimlock.

    Overall, the .22 is a decent self defense gun for that all important rule, have a gun. And when you’re elderly or on a fixed and limited income the .22 may be your real best option.

    Remember the story right here at ttag a few years back about the 90 something dude in KY that waited in his easy chair for a young billy bad ass to kick in his door? One shot stamped “The End” on young tough dudes medical records.

  19. I certainly hope that more older folks continue to arm themselves with whatever firearm they can shoot easily.

    Maybe, eventually, we will once again become a “polite society”.

  20. While anecdotes surely aren’t evidence, when a septuagenarian female drops a male intruder in the prime of his life with a single round from a recently acquired .22 pistol and leaves him dead right there, while having a heart attack, well… that’s going to invite some criticism of the tacticool/you never have enough training/12 guage isn’t enough/you need at least 30 rounds crowd and their philosophy.

    I’d say it’s true, that once the intent and the means meet the motivation the outcome is very predictable; someone dies. It’s just not everyday that the means adequate to the job happen to be a .22 pistol in the hands of someone’s granny.
    Have a gun, know how to use it, have more gun, get better at it…these are points on a continuum. You have to start somewhere, and that is acquiring a gun. That facilitates learning to use it, and if motivated, you’ll get progressively better. It’s the natural progression, and a useful one. Few enough people are going to practice at all, fewer still who will train with another and very few who will pay for training outside of their CCW class. The thing is, they are already so much better off with a gun, and the defensive mindset that drove them to purchase one, that once the first step is complete, the battle is nearly won.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’ve trained, hard for much of my life, I EDC 2 pistols, every day, and over 50 rounds of ammo, but I wouldn’t like to gunfight a a first time shooter from across the room…I’ll win…with my high capacity mags full of premium HP selected for the barrel length, a near full size pistol with more velocity and a longer sight radius and a better grip and a good trigger, and my years of training to rapidly engage at various ranges with anything from hip fire through instinctive fire through sighted fire, I’ll get off the x…
    But what does “winning” look like? If my opponent doesn’t hesitate, and truly intends and vigorously attempts to kill me, I’m almost certainly going to be shot, likely more than once and I just might expire right there next to them.

    What I can do, what many of us can do, only serves to improve our odds, not make us invincible. All any of us can do is to increase our survivability, not make ourselves invulnerable.

    We ought to celebrate whenever person buys their first gun. It’s a noble decision, an exercise of one’s natural rights, an affirmation of one’s civil rights, an acceptance of responsibility, an expression of self reliance and a positive, practical step to personal sovereignty and protection.
    It also prepares them in a real, effective way, for defending themselves and their loved ones. The average person really can figure out how to use one without instruction.

    There is much value in a better gun, more and better training, better ammo, to having a flashlight…
    But we would do well to remember that the part that matters is the person and their will, and once they have lethal means, the outcome is decidedly more in their favor than it ever was before. This is as true for the citizen defending life and limb, as the criminal intent on predation.
    Just as we ought to respect that merely having a gun makes a citizen safer, because it does, we also(as PoTG) ought to remember that any gunfight is a dangerous one, and our equipment, training, and judgement ought to reflect it.

    • Here’s the brutal statistical truth for the Operator Operating Operationally crowd:

      Criminals are in crime because it’s easier than working. Most of them are fundamentally lazy morons, and the vast majority of them are from the left side of the IQ bell curve. When a victim puts up a fight, most of the criminal element wants to move on and find easier pickings – fast. As soon as you turn the muzzle of (insert random gun here) towards them, they move elsewhere – fast. They were promised that the crime gig would be easier than working, and having to dodge live fire is not easier than working.

      The FBI’s UCR makes this pretty clear. Unlike the idiotic “advice” from law enforcement, the FBI’s UCR data shows pretty clearly that the statistical trend is thus: the more force with which a potential victim resists crime, the better their personal outcome. There are limits to the extrapolation of this data, obviously; Using a tactical nuke is going to ruin your day as well as that of the perp(s). But using a firearm as a limit, the data show(ed)(s) that more force => better outcomes for the victim. Compliance, as has been recommended for decades by idiot police chiefs and other “experts” for their own political purposes, is statistically a worse option to take.

      So, in the big statistical picture, we occasionally get incidents like this one: perp meets little old lady, Little old lady using lethal force gets lethal on the perp’s ass, perp assumes room temperature. The FBI UCR will be silent on the issue of her cardiac complaint – it will just record that a) the perp is dead, b) the crime, whatever it was, was not completed, and c) the proposed victim lived through the crime. Win:win for her fellow taxpayers.

      I’d wager that our elderly crime-stopper was waiting at the top of the stairs, out of view. Our doofus of the week, Mr. Byrd, went up the stairs thinking that this job was going to be easy pickings. Grammy waited until Doofus of the Week came into clear, can’t-miss view, and then she didn’t miss. Simple as that. Old women are sneaky that way.

      • Great comment, Dyspeptic — and your last sentence was perhaps the best of this thread! “Old women are sneaky that way!’ …. definitely making me laugh out loud!

  21. Difficult situation, satisfing results. You don’t live past the three score and ten by being an easy mark for anybody. Good ending to a bad piece of business. -30-

  22. Another elderly citizen, showing the “professionals” how to be gettin’ the job done. Single shot to the grape, .22-style. I’m sure the perp went down in a heap, like his puppet strings had just been cut.

    Lots of folks in Kansas and flyover country have put down huge numbers of livestock, horses, deer, you name it with a single .22 to the head.

    Since the news copy says that she was using .22-cal handgun, clearly she wasn’t using the “Perfection” of a Glock, so I’m sure the Oakley & 5.11 crowd would be asking her: “Girl, do you even operate?”

    If y’all do some noodling around on the net about the suspect, you’ll see he was another one of those “known cases” of people who were going to be inevitable trouble.

  23. Leavenworth Kan sas, that towns 120 miles north of me, thems
    city slickers. Poor old woman. Head shot mustang hunted squirrels when she was a kid.

  24. If the estate sues her she should counter sue them and leave a huge bill. I mean, she suffered a heart attack after shooting the guy.

  25. Semantics’s and the art of one upmanship! Most of this stripe will argue about the .22 lethality! Most old timers that had been through the depression used a .22 a lot, when butchering Hogs, Sheep, Cows, occasional goose or too put down sick Animals and of course Varmints and various kinds of hunting ( When I was a kid the .22 took more Deer than any other firearm). Ultimate surprise “Hey Sonny what you doing in my house?”

  26. Yes, a .22 is rarely quickly fatal on a human. Unless you put it exactly where it needs to be. Which she apparently did.

    So, good for her.

    By the way the photo in this story is not the woman in question, it’s a stock photo.


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