Las Vegas man says he shot squatter in self-defense

Las Vegas man says he shot squatter in self-defense
AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Jermaine Pritchett says he recently returned home from a trip to find his Las Vegas apartment had been broken into by squatters. Not only had they destroyed his living space, they’d allegedly stolen everything of value in his home… along with items that aren’t going to be easy to resell, down to Pritchett’s underwear.

As he was going through what remains of his belongings and talking to a 911 dispatcher, Pritchett says one of the squatters audaciously returned to the apartment. That’s when Pritchett grabbed his gun, which apparently wasn’t left behind in the apartment during his trip, and fired a shot at the intruder.

“I was scared to death,” Pritchett said. “Nobody comes to my apartment without an invite, you know, I rarely have anybody.”

“When you are in that kind of a situation, you know it’s life or death, so it’s either you or that person,” he said.

Police arrived and took the person to the hospital. They classified the shooting as self-defense in their notes.

Pritchett said he caught someone else trying to break in the night after the shooting.

“I was able to grab his arm as he was reaching in. I held him then my neighbors thankfully called the authorities,” he said.

That person was arrested right away.

Pritchett said the incidents of squatters coming into his home has made him feel like he has been stripped of his sense of security and safety.

“I definitely feel 100% violated; words can’t even explain it,” Pritchett said.

Pritchett told 8 News Now he had to plead with his apartment complex numerous times to change his locks, and they finally did.

Reporter Victoria Saha called the complex to ask what more they could do to prevent this from happening, but they declined to comment.

So far police haven’t said whether the squatter who was shot by Pritchett has been released from the hospital, and while the responding officers indicated that Pritchett shot the man in self-defense, authorities say the investigation is continuing. Still, all of the evidence that’s emerged to date would appear to back up Pritchett’s account, and unless there are details that would discount Pritchett’s story I don’t think he’ll be charged with any crime in connection with the shooting.

This is at least the second defensive gun use in the Las Vegas area in recent weeks. On Wednesday the North Las Vegas PD announced its still looking for a suspect in a recent carjacking attempt that ended up with one of the suspects dead after one of his intended victims chose to fight back. The woman and her friend were sitting in a vehicle outside of a “Friendsgiving” even they’d been invited to when a car pulled up in front of them and several armed men jumped out and approached her car.

The men yelled at the women to get out of the car. Before she could process what was going on, one of the males opened the driver’s side door and grabbed her by the shirt, yanking her out of the car. One of the men got into the driver’s seat and attempted to drive away but was not able to get the vehicle into drive. The woman said the car requires a button to be pressed to drive the car. The man had trouble doing so and placed his gun in his lap while he attempted to steal the car. The woman told her friend to run.

The report said a second suspect got into the passenger seat and told the first suspect, “Just go.” The woman noticed the suspect wasn’t holding the gun anymore. The report states that she grabbed it out of his lap and ran. Seconds later, the man tackled her from behind. The report said she tried to get the man off but he was holding her tight. That’s when she turned and shot him.

She told detectives she was unsure if she shot him once or twice. The report said the second suspect started shooting at her. The woman ran to a house and hid in a side yard. The woman told detectives the gun was jammed, so she fixed it. The report said she heard what she thought was the second suspect cry out that his friend was shot. She told detectives once she heard sirens she came out and approached the police. The woman was put into handcuffs but later told she was not under arrest.

If she didn’t own a firearm of her own before now I’m guessing that’s changed, and I hope she goes on to get her concealed carry license as well. Even in Sin City you’ve got the right to protect your life with a gun… but you’re far better off having one of your own instead of hoping you can take one away from the stranger threatening your life.