Bad Shoot, Lucky Homeowner in Oklahoma City

An Oklahoma City home owner is both lucky to be alive and avoiding charges after he shot a fleeing burglary suspect in the back.

Police say an overnight home invasion led to a homeowner defending his family by shooting the burglar.

It is quiet Friday on E. Wilshire Boulevard near Sooner Road. Jacquelyn Lawrence told FOX 25 she has lived in the area her whole life.

“It’s a rather quiet neighborhood. We never really have any excitement or anything like that,” Lawrence said.

She was shocked to hear that someone had broken into her neighbor’s home down the street. The Oklahoma City Police Department Sgt. Ashley Peters said the break-in happened around 3 a.m. Feb. 5. The family reported hearing loud banging on the door, like someone was trying to kick it in.

“At that time, he (the homeowner) retrieved his firearm that he had, which was a shotgun, and then made contact with the suspect that had entered the home,” Peters said.

Police say the suspect was Vernon Wyatt.

“There was a struggle that ensued and the suspect attempted to try and take the shotgun away from the victim,” Peters said.

Eventually the homeowner got full control of the gun and Wyatt began running away, but not before one round of birdshot was fired from the shotgun. Police caught up with Wyatt down the street, near Lawrence’s home.


It’s impossible to blame the homeowner for getting in a wrestling match over control of the weapon without getting more details on precisely how he came within distance of the intruder, and so we’re simply not going to go there.  We’ll simply note that there are techniques that can be applied in most circumstances to help lessen the possibility of struggling over a long gun during a home invasion. You can learn these techniques from a good defensive firearms instructor.

We must, however, take issue is with the homeowner firing a shot at a fleeing suspect, if only for the sake of our readers (we don’t care much about the health of serial criminals like Vernon Wyatt).

While it doesn’t appear that authorities are going to prosecute the homeowner in this instance, they certainly could charge him with assault with a deadly weapon and get a relatively easy conviction. In less-enlightened parts of the nation, where guns are viewed as the embodiment of evil itself by radically anti-gun constituents and the kind of prosecutors they put in office, we’ve seen cases very similar to this one where the homeowner wound up in jail beside the criminal who broke into his home, and facing more serious charges including murder, for less.

Fortunately, the homeowner’s poor ammunition selection, distance, and perhaps Wyatt’s choice of clothing prevented him from suffer more serious wounds that might have forced the prosecute to file charges for shooting a fleeing suspect in the back.


Folks, people can be stopped with birdshot (it happens rather frequently, in fact), but most of those stops are either at extremely close range where the shot is still in the shot cup and performs more like an over-sized frangible, or the bad guy decides that he simply doesn’t want anything at all to do with the fight (a psychological stop).

Buckshot is still the best way to go in a home defense round, as the pellets each have enough mass to help ensure they get adequate penetration. Slugs are a waste as they tend to completely blow through a bad guy without expending all of their energy, and pose a greater risk of causing collateral damage after a pass-through as a result.

We’re increasingly partial to #4 and #1 buckshot as we read more and do more research simply for reasons of pattern density and potentially less over-penetration through building materials in some cases with certain variables in play, but the old stand-by of 00 buckshot is still tough to beat in ensuring a one-shot stoppage with a well-aimed shot.

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