Authorities are still trying to piece together what exactly led 54-year old Steven David Shaffer to break into a nearby home and assault the elderly couple inside, but they do how the couple responded; shooting and killing their attacker.
Pennsylvania State Police started getting calls on Wednesday morning about a man in Berwick Township who was trying to gain entry into homes, banging on cars driving down the quiet residential street. With troopers on the way, Shaffer apparently shed his pants and underwear before he managed to get inside the home of the couple, where he immediately attacked the husband.
The husband told his wife to retrieve a gun from the nearby bedroom. As she went to get it, Shaffer followed her.
He then assaulted the woman as her husband entered the room.
The husband was able to grab the firearm and fired multiple shots at Shaffer.
The wife sustained significant injuries in the attack and is in critical condition, state police said.
She is in need of thoughts and prayers, Maygar said.
“It’s a very unfortunate incident for a married couple in their late 70s just trying to enjoy their day,” he said.
The husband, who also suffered multiple injuries, is stable, state police said.
The criminal investigation remains ongoing. Investigators are still trying to piece together what happened. State police have been able to interview the husband but not the wife.
Shaffer had been wearing shorts and underwear, but he took them off for unknown reasons before entering the couple’s home, state police said. The front door was unlocked, and the two were sitting in their living room.
Shaffer lived nearby, but according to police had no connection with the couple.
Given the severity of the injuries suffered here, it’s likely that if the couple had not been able to get to their revolver police would have pulled up to the scene of a double murder and not a justifiable homicide. Thankfully, while the woman’s injuries are described as critical, state police say they are not “life-threatening,” and hopefully both husband and wife will be able to make a full recovery.
Some neighbors, meanwhile, say they’re shocked at the events that unfolded in their normally peaceful neighborhood.
“I actually live down the road like two, three minutes down the road. I was at work and I was just like, here we go again. The world isn’t getting any better,” said Brooke Forbes of York County.
“It’s close to home and you’re out with your kids doing things or even home with your kids,” said Amanda Collins of York County. “Not everyone locks their doors when they’re home. You’re supposed to be safe in your house.”
It may be comforting to believe that, but unless you live in a fortress, bad guys can still get inside. Taking steps like keeping your doors locked, maintaining good lighting around your home, and yes, having a plan in place in case an intruder ever does gain entry into your home are all reasonable ways to improve your personal safety.
Crime can happen anywhere, and anyone of us can be the target. No matter how quickly police respond, the odds are that they’ll arrive after the crime is over. I’m not saying that to minimize the importance of law enforcement, but to emphasize the importance of personal protection. It’s highly unlikely that this elderly couple would have been able to successfully defend themselves against their attacker by using their fists and feet, but thankfully, because they were exercising their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms they didn’t have to rely on bare hands to keep them alive.