Authorities in Washington are still trying to piece together all of the details of a defensive gun use on Thursday night, which ended with shots fired after a family was threatened by an intruder. Sheriff’s officials in Clark County say they received a call about an “unknown and unwanted man” who was was trying to get in the front door of a home in an unincorporated part of the county around 9:45 Thursday evening, but by the time police arrived, the situation had escalated.
The man appeared to be emotionally distraught and was agitated, according to the statement. The homeowner answered the door armed with a handgun and tried to speak to the man.
The man tried to push past him into the house, but the homeowner eventually calmed him down and talked to him on the front porch as others in the home hid in a back bedroom, sheriff’s officials said.
The 911 caller reported that the man at one point told the homeowner to shoot him and threatened to “go after” or “hurt” the homeowner’s wife if the homeowner didn’t shoot him, sheriff’s officials said.
While the homeowner was trying to calm the man down, the stranger began to assault him. That’s when the homeowner was forced to fire in self-defense, shooting and killing the attacker.
According to the Clark County sheriff, the homeowner’s been cooperative with investigators, and it sounds like a fairly clear-cut case of self-defense from what’s been reported. The assailant bypassed a locked gate in order to approach the home, the homeowners called 911 to report the man trespassing and trying to gain entry to the house, and the homeowner didn’t use his firearm until physical force was being used against him. In fact, it sounds like the homeowner was doing everything he could to try to deescalate the situation, but to no avail.
That homeowner wasn’t the only gun owner forced to act in self-defense that night. Just a few hours after the situation in Washington unfolded, a Missouri man who confronted a car burglar ended up exchanging gun shots with the stranger.
As the suspect was running away, surveillance video captured him shooting at the homeowner, who returned fire.
“It happened so fast, I didn’t know he had a gun,” said the homeowner, Jesse Leuthauser.
It happened just before 1:00 a.m. on White Doe Court. The bullet the suspect fired at Leuthauser missed him. Eureka police are not sure if the suspect was hit. Police believe there were three suspects involved. They took off in a Nissan after the shooting.
“I’m not scared of them. I’m going to take these guys head on if they come back,” said Leuthauser.
The homeowner says he believes the same group of three men have previously targeted his home, noting that his cars have been broken into three times over the past three months. In fact, in late May one of his vehicles was stolen from his driveway, and Leuthauser says when it was recovered more than a week later, it had been destroyed.
Local police say they believe the group is responsible for dozens of break-ins, and are using stolen cars as getaway vehicles while they look for guns and other valuables left inside of cars.
Not only is this a good reminder to bring your firearms inside your home with you rather than leave them unattended in your vehicle, but also to never confront a suspect unless you’re ready and willing to defend yourself. Leuthauser didn’t fire the first shot at the fleeing thief, but thankfully he was able to respond when shots were fired at him.