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Jeff Preach, above, is 63. He has been a pillar of his community, town council member, a Lions Club president, president of the Chamber of Commerce, member of the Violin Canyon Corporation. He lives in a large house on a dirt road in the country, near Castaic, California. Confused motorists have often stopped and asked for directions, according to a commenter who claimed to be related. It was about 10:30 on Sunday night when he answered the door . . .


“I opened the door and I said, ‘What do you want?’ Preach said, adding that the suspect then began mumbling. “So finally he goes, ‘I want a $100 million,’ and I said, ‘well, you came to the wrong house pal.'”

When Preach denied him, the suspect allegedly punched him in the face. That punch escalated into a knockdown drag-out fight.

Preach had undergone back surgery three weeks before, and was not supposed to lift more than 10 pounds, let alone engage in a brawl. Memories of his high school football days kicked in, and he pinned his assailant to the floor and wall.

Then the effect of surgery, 45 years, and some intense combat, set in. After a few minutes, he thought he could no longer hold 21-year-old Salvador Medrano. By that time, Preach’s wife was calling 911, and their house guest, Larry Bensel, arrived to take over holding Medrano down. Bensel had undergone hernia surgery just days before.

While Bensel, in his early 50’s, held Medrano, Preach got a shotgun and loaded one cartridge.  Bensel’s stitches were torn out during the struggle. With the loading of the shotgun, Medrano stopped struggling, but after deputies arrived a short while later, it took five of them to subdue him.

Medrano admitted to being on heroin, running out of gas, and going to the home to get money.

Jeff Preach could not know that Medrano was unarmed. While he outweighed Medrano by more than 2-1, the effects of age and surgery worked against him. It took the combined efforts of three adults to subdue Medrano and hold him for police, and then only after of a shotgun became a critical part of the equation. Even a small man on drugs can be difficult to subdue.

I again see the wisdom of having some kind of stand-off barrier so that the door can be answered from a distance. My friend and highly decorated WWII veteran and intelligence operative, George “Tex” Ferguson, used a porch that was screened with heavy duty mesh, and a doorbell at the outer door for this purpose. He could answer the door, view and communicate with the visitor from 15 feet before he made a decision.  Others have used fences and gates with an intercom system. Security cameras make such a system even more useful and usable. Such a system should be backed up with armed force. A gun at hand works very well in these situations.

If Jeff Preach had been home alone, the result might not have turned out as well as it did.

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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  1. Yep, home carry. But don’t open the door til you know who it is. I have one of those metal security doors on my front entry. Allows me to talk and stand off at the same time.

    • +1 Cost me about $600 installed, and worth more than every penny. Even looks like an attractive screen/storm door, with decorative scrolls attached to the bars.

  2. ” Even a small man can be difficult to subdue.”


    If a person does not want to be subdued, then you will have to fight or pile on.

  3. Well, if you’re not going to home carry, that’s one thing. But if you live in the middle of nowhere and when seconds count the police are the better part of an hour away, at least keep the shotgun loaded!

  4. And for goodness sake, when the doorbell rings at 10:30 at night, leave it closed and locked until you are armed. If that takes too long and your “visitor” goes somewhere else, oh, well.

    • Yup. I have had 2 late night visitors to the front door.
      One about 11pm and one at 2:30. In both cases it was a guy (different ones) that had a bit too much to drink and were at the wrong address. One was a little belligerent and one was very apologetic.
      In both cases the weapon was in hand hidden behind my thigh before I even cracked the door. And then my front foot was behind it to keep the door from getting easily pushed in.

      There are MUCH better ways to answer a late night knock when not expecting anyone.

      • “There are MUCH better ways to answer a late night knock when not expecting anyone.”

        Yeah like not answering the door at all. Arm yourself and keep your phone handy to call the police if anything is suspicious. Opening a door to someone you don’t know/ weren’t expecting needlessly breaches a very important element in your security against the outside world, and could in some instances precipitate needing to use your gun where you otherwise wouldn’t have had to. Or heck, what if you didnt get as good of purchase on the door with your foot as they though, and the door swinging open knocks you off your balance and/or knocks your firearm out of your hand. No I Know what some are thinking, if it happens to be one of those burglars who knocks to check if anyone is home (unlikely), you are still better off, not answering the door. Move around the house, make some heavy footsteps, maybe turn a light on so they know you are home, but don’t open the door. Or at least that’s the rule at my house, my wife and I both follow it. A good second line of defense is a video intercom, most modern security systems have them. Way easier to use and way safer than a peep hole.

  5. Preach was not supposed to lift more than 10 pounds? No wonder he loaded his shotty with only one round.

  6. I started reading this with some dread that Mr. Preach had been killed. I’m VERY glad that the good guys prevailed this time. I have known a few gentlemen like Mr. Preach, they generally do more good in any given day than the average guy does in a month. I hope he and his friends did not get too injured wrestling this nit wit.

  7. This sounds like a horror movie. The first defender had back surgery three weeks ago which limited his response. And then the second defender just had hernia surgery a few days ago which greatly limited his response.

    Of course, like all horror movies, the entire situation was a result of abject stupidity. Why in the world would you answer your door to a complete stranger at 10:30 p.m.? Why would you answer the door without being armed — especially given the fact that home occupants just had surgery and had limited physical ability to respond to a home invader?

    • Oh well now U_S. Thoughtless? Naive? Too trusting? YES! Abject stupidity, a little harsh.

      If nothing bad had ever happened to the gentleman caused by a human predator; it’s human nature to think it never will, despite the every day news.

      It’s what woke me up and caused me to start carrying a weapon. A human predator tried to mug me for the first time in my late thirties.

      Now, when I’m not at work, I OC a gun, especially while at home. Because while in public, someone might see or hear an attack and call 911; when in my home, it is very unlikely someone will a scream.

      Now if after this event, Jeff doesn’t add in some of the ideas spoken of by most of us here on this site; then yes, he would be at the least, extremely foolish, perhaps even verging on “abject stupidity”.

      • No, human nature would be to assume that every shadow could hide a horror, that every corner could conceal a danger, and that every stranger could pose a threat. We reinforce these instincts in our oh so comfy, complacent modern lives by teaching our kids to come inside when the streetlights come on, to look left, right, then left again before crossing the street, and never to talk to strangers.

        It’s not paranoia, because we’re not promoting or indulging irrationality, but rather awareness of risks and a measured response. Indeed, with additional experience and independence comes the expectation that one would interact with society by crossing streets, being out at night, and meeting new people outside of strictly controlled environments such as school. However, the initial conditions of caution and awareness remain. Unless they don’t.

        This man became much too loose and allowed an obviously credible threat easy access to his home, where all three occupants could easily have been killled. That’s stupid.

  8. Problem with ignoring a knock on the door is person may assume no one is home and break in. You can always yell “unless you are the police with a warrant, go away”
    Loaded shotgun in a nearby closet would work as well. Thinking of getting clear glass weather door for our front door, our large dog pitching a hissy fit of aggression would deter most people.

  9. My current house has a walled yard completely encompassing the house. The only way to get to the front door is past a padlocked gate and through a pit bull filled yard (they’re friendly but you wouldn’t know it by looking). The doorbell is on the outside of the gate. I can talk to whoever rings through the gate without worrying about getting attacked, and I can duck behind the wall if they have a gun. I’m planning on setting up a camera when I get some money.

  10. NEVER EVER answer the door to anyone unknown ( be armed first) . have a plan . who calls 911, a SAVE ROOM , with cell phone. check back doors and windows first before answering the front… have a plan B: extra hidden pistols . and if the known person has someone UNKNOWN , ask who the are and what they want before opening a door, any unknown person could be on drugs , drunk or a terrorist ETC… and the known person is a HELD person… look a PARIS and what just went down … IT’s COMMING HERE … IT’S a FACT… the new NORMAL … protect 2A now at all costs …our last line of DEFENSE!!!!

  11. A security gate is an extremely effective measure. Had them at my apartment in San Francisco when I lived there, and they were essentially impenetrable. Now I imagine that they will not do much good if someone is trying to kill you, but not many of us here have any enemies likely to try.

  12. We won’t answer the door at that hour unless it’s the cops and they ID themselves accordingly. Plus the dawg makes a fuss and has a good bark on him. If someone then crashes through the door or a window, they’ll have the mutt on him or her and both of us holed up calling 911 with ordnance ready to go. When we get some bucks we’ll replace both front and back doors with steel doors and frames, plus deadbolts. We also plan to modify the back porch to a three-season situation with working windows, insulation and a better door and doorbell combination. Here in rural and semi-rural Vermont most houses only use the back or side doors not only in winter but year-round anyway.

    Just had an interesting talk with the local postmaster/mistress; a career Army National Guard SFC with multiple Sandbox tours. She got home a couple of months ago and found the front door ajar. She poked it open and spotted the B&E In the Daytime perp in her first-floor bedroom, with loot on the floor, etc. She opened up her cell and called 911 and then loudly announced herself and address and having a gun. The perp apparently a 43-year-old guy, peed himself and cooperated. She kept him in the kitchen, blocking the exit door, until the cops got there. Trouble was, her .45 was in the bedroom and luckily said perp hadn’t found it. So she went through this whole drill unarmed. I told her next time do not go in; call the cops and wait in the car a block away or whatever, and try to get any other descriptive info. Do not go in even if you’re armed; let the cops get paid to do their job. (I was once of that noble and heroic warrior fraternity, sarcasm intended).

    The other trouble was she did not provide the perp with an escape route, so the whole thing was way beyond risky for her, or anyone trying this caper alone. You don’t know if the guy is alone or has accomplices somewhere else in the house, or whether he and they are armed, or how long it will take the cops to get there. Why screw around? Live to fight another day, unless, of course, you are SWAT or Delta or a Seal and ready for a hot LZ 7 by 24.

  13. I messed up today; I was expecting a delivery from FedEx. When I heard knocking at the door, I opened the door without looking. Yes, I live in a gated complex, and it was my expected package but as soon as I closed the door I told myself that was extremely stupid. I won’t be making that mistake again.

  14. Glad the good guys won. This being CA, the bad guy will be released soon. Stay frosty, my friends.

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