“I Was Confident She Knew How to Use the Firearm,” Says Father of Teen Who Shot at an Intruder

defensive gun use dgu

Fifteen-year-old Alexis Taylor saw a silver car backing into her driveway in Sweetwater, Tennessee while her father wasn’t home. She was immediately concerned, but called her dad, Jeremy, to make sure she and her 14-year-old sister weren’t supposed to entertain company that evening.

Jeremy said he didn’t know the man or the vehicle – which the stranger confirmed in short order. He stepped out into the driveway, located two pressure washers on the property, and put them in his car.

“I was panicking, and I was in my mom and dad’s bedroom,” said Alexis in an interview (news video below). Still on the phone with her dad, she watched the man then approach their front door.

“That scared me,” she said. “I was thinking, if he gets in here, what could happen to me? What could happen to my sister?”

“Go get the shotgun,” her dad instructed. He would later tell reporters that he was “confident enough to know that she knew how to use the firearm if needed.”

Shotgun in hand, Alexis snuck around the side of the house and saw the intruder messing with the lock on the door.

“I was there, and I was ready the whole time,” Alexis said, re-tracing her steps out the side door and around the side of the house. “I slowly peeked around to see if he was right there, and I could see him. He was huddled over the door, and he was shaking the door.”

At that point, WKRN reports:

The man noticed Alexis out of the corner of his eye and made his way back to his car.

Once he was in the car, she walked closer to him.

“During that time my instinct was just telling me, I can’t let him leave with what he had of ours,” she said.

Alexis said she fired the gun at the man’s car after “he started the ignition and took off.” She claims she hit the car.

McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy says Alexis did the right thing.

“I guess I’m a little old-fashioned and I respect the rights of my citizens to defend themselves and defend their property,” said Sheriff Guy.

Without having been there, it’s hard to say whether firing at the car was indeed the right thing to do. But in general, shooting at a fleeing criminal isn’t a good idea.

Approaching the man’s car as he was getting ready to drive away could have spurred a turn for the worse. However, from an outside perspective, it looks like Alexis had more presence of mind than most 15-year-olds would have under that kind of pressure, and it’s a very good thing that she had the means to fight back in case the intruder got violent.

The most important thing is that no one in the family was harmed.

Here’s a news report with brief interviews via newshannel9.com:


  1. avatar John J. McCarthy, Jr. says:

    I believe firing at the car under those circumstances was a bad idea only because in many jurisdictions the young girl would be in serious legal jeopardy. I’m glad this happened in the South and not the awful Northeast.

    Otherwise, if she sent that crud’s brains on the splatter ride I’d say: Nothing to see here folks, move along.

    1. avatar Arc says:

      That car sure is identifiable now with some new holes.

    2. avatar ANONNYMOUS says:

      Given what the article/report states, this was much more than

      “a bad idea” Period.

      While the father was confident the eldest could handle the weapon safely, what confidence did the father have that any teenager could handle the situation; these are two different items.

      Father could/should work with the family about in-home tactics, like retreating (within the domain), to the highest level while maintaining cover and full view of the choke-point (staircase/hallway) for proper visual identification of the credible threat. Highest level (no back door, less of a chance of a window breach), is the better option than ground level, unless intruder(s) are coming through the roof as well.

      Certainly do not leave the domain and/or approach a perp who may very well have an undisclosed weapon.

      Anyone care to add or take away from the above?

      1. avatar California Richard says:

        +1… **This may just be a California sentiment bred by decades of established tort and criminal law, but….*** Anything left out and unsecured shoud automatically be regarded as already stolen. If it requires deadly force to protect, then it should be locked up. It only takes one SJW lawyer to go after this girl and her parents. That being said, I have 3 daughters and I would be very proud of them, if they accorded themselves as this girl. Come what may legally, I would never want throw water on the kind of fire in that girl. Just needs some training.

      2. avatar neiowa says:

        BS. In the REAL world the property line starts at the edge of the public road. Stay TFO/don’t touch unless invited.

        1. avatar California Richard says:

          ….. now imagine you are sitting on the witness stand and end that sentence with: “…. your honor”. Seniment and legality hardly ever cross over now-a-days and strog sentiments tend to be a legal liability. Lucky for her she lives in the county of an old school Sheriff.

  2. avatar rocketscientist says:

    Love that the sheriff is fine with this. Don’t expect that to happen everywhere. Hope the perp has a driver’s side door full of 00 Buck that will aid in identification later. Chances she actually did hit the car?

    1. avatar Random NYer says:

      Tell me about it. Sounds like that young woman would be on pretty thin ice.

      1. avatar California Richard says:

        Shame that her freedom and the livelihood of the entire family is dependent on the subjective whims of a single government official. Glad that he swings in favor of the people. It’s remarkable, because its the exception and we all know it. We’re terrified of what the “government” (even just a single person in gonvernment) may do to us, when the vast majority of the citizenry applaud this girl, and those who disagree are smart enough to shut up.

  3. avatar Paul McMichael says:

    What she did was not tactically sound, but she’s only fifteen. I must say though, bully for her!

  4. avatar Nanashi says:

    ““I Was Confident She Knew How to Use the Firearm,” Says Father of Teen Who Shot at an Intruder”

    I’d say his confidence was misplaced.

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      Perhaps you’ll volunteer to pay for some NRA training classes for her. You know the NRA does training?

  5. avatar John J. McCarthy, Jr. says:

    I love the father’s advice: “Go get the shotgun.”

    Not: Call 911 and let me know how that works out for ya.”

    1. avatar George from Alaska says:

      I agree with John and think the dad did a good thing to tell her to get the gun. I have no idea what the hell Nanishi means. I think the girl did right too, a person should be able to protect their home and belongings and I’m glad the sheriff has the ability to see it that way. And besides, at 15, they probably would not have tried her as an adult since she was not the instigator and did not premeditate to do heinous harm or commit a crime. Please don’t anyone try to school or lawyer me, I know what all you experts have to say about her tactics and don’t care or agree with you. Too bad she wasn’t inside when he came through a door or window.

      1. avatar Nanashi says:

        She missed.

        1. avatar jwm says:

          Must have been the NRA’s fault.

        2. avatar California Richard says:

          She didn’t miss… she aimed at the car and hit the car. **IF** she was aiming at the driver, and hit him (like she aimed at the car and hit it), then it would be a negligent homicide at best and 2nd degree murder at worst. He would be an American citizen killed on American soil and it would be investigated accordingly, regardless of the Sheriff’s leanings. Good thing she was only “aiming at the car” and had no *intention* of harming the driver. Good thing she’s a good shot and hit what she was aiming at.

  6. avatar John Boch says:

    Generally speaking, don’t use deadly force to defend property.

    If you kill little Ray-Ray over a Craftsman lawnmower, it’s not gonna look too good to a jury of your peers.


    1. avatar FedUp says:

      Generally speaking, don’t use deadly force to defend property.

      After dark in Texas maybe, but I wouldn’t do it in Tennessee and tell anybody I did it.

    2. avatar neiowa says:

      Mr Boch. You really need to GTH out of Illinois. Come to Iowa we have tons of jobs, low cost of living and it isn’t Ill.

  7. avatar James W Crawford says:

    The sheriff deserves our respect.
    Unlike the coward of Broward County Florida, this Sheriff and his Deputies woupd not cower in the parking lot of the Pulse Nighclub or Parkland High School while they waited for the shooting to stop.

    1. avatar bryan1980 says:

      Yeah, this is why I tend to like county sheriffs a lot more than the four-star clowns appointed to lead city police forces; might have something to do with them being elected, and thus having to answer to their constituents.

  8. avatar KTR says:

    If the shotgun pictured above is the one used, dad needs to upgrade from that single shot.

    1. avatar California Richard says:

      Go read “93 confirmed kills”…. Carlos was good with his little single shot .22 and never missed. Carlos’ mom saw the talent and tried to give him a 12ga upgrade. He couldn’t make it work for him so he stuck with his .22. Girl was confident going in to an armed confrontation with that single shot and hit what she was aiming at (car). Upgrade may or may not work for her.

  9. avatar Gringo Cracker says:

    Dropping him on the front porch probably would’ve been more legally defensible. Shooting a fleeing suspect who no longer poses a threat is often frowned upon.

  10. avatar Gun Owning American says:

    Time to upgrade that scatter gun.

  11. avatar jwm says:

    Her 14 yo sister was in the house. So she took the fight outside to the bad guy.

    That 15yo girl has bigger balls than most commenters on TTAG.

    1. avatar California Richard says:

      She has a bigger set than me. I’d wait for him to come inside…. that way everything would be nice and legal.

  12. avatar Mad Max says:

    Once she fired that shotgun she was out of ammo. What would have happened if the perp had turned around after that shot?

    I would have sighted the perp in and held the shotgun on target until he was out of range (preferably from cover).

    She could use some tactical training (and a semi-auto shotgun).

    1. avatar Manse Jolly says:

      Looks maybe like a New England firearms single shot 12ga.

      It reloads easy, just hold two shells between your fingers of your support hand.

      1. avatar Mad Max says:

        As long as you got them handy.

  13. avatar GS650G says:

    According to Joe Biden she was supposed to fire through the door.

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      You know how much an antique door is worth? Dad would be mad if she messed up that door thus the flank approach.

  14. avatar Dan Fuentes says:

    She should have just shot him in the porch and called the law. The pressure washers in his car and his prints on the door should have been enough to show they were in danger.

  15. avatar Holdfast says:

    Girl didn’t wait to be a victim. Girl contacted Higher Headquarters and informed them of pending assault. Girl left the safety of her bunker and conducted a spoiling attack, disrupting the enemy plan as she assaulted the Enemy without knowing the Enemies strengths or weaknesses. Girl didn’t know if Enemy was armed or not. Girl made contact with the Enemy and drove the Enemy into retreat.

    This is the stuff of Hero’s!

    Training with a weapon is worthless without having the will to actively use the weapon to defend yourself. Anything else is immaterial.

    Well Done!

  16. avatar Muhmawsur says:

    Holy shit. I live in Mcminn County and hadn’t heard of this. Strange though, the vast majority of Sweetwater is in neighboring Monroe County, only a very small part is in Mcminn. Sheriff Guy is top notch. Before being elected, he was a local historian and wrote several books (and a newspaper column) . Our previous sheriff was corrupt. Sheriff Guy has turned things around 360. No longer does the department hassle people for going 5-10 over (you have to fuck up big time like 90 in a 40 to get pulled over by Mcminn County now) while turning a blind eye to drug dealers and thiefs. Not only is he a good sheriff, he is an upstanding member of the community who is active in lots of charity and local events.

    1. That’s good news for McMinn County. Turning around “360” just brings things back full-circle to where they were. Turning things around “180” points them in the opposite direction.

  17. avatar RobinTN says:

    There’s more to this story. The police were called but not dispatched. When asked why, the dispatcher claimed that no one was available. From what I understand, they didn’t even send someone to follow up until the father called back and complained.

  18. avatar Joe R. says:

    People fucking with you shit-cans all other agreements.


    Don’t let shooting a perp, settle in your mind as the last MFr that needs it.

  19. avatar MIO says:

    Good for her! F the thug and we need to change some laws to quit protecting the criminal.

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