Actually, police say 51-year old Robert Rheams had both a shovel and a lug wrench in his possession when he forced his way into a house in Hammond, Louisiana around 5 a.m. on Sunday morning, and authorities don’t believe he was at the residence to do a little home improvement.
While Rheams had some blunt heavy objects that could have been wielded as weapons, fortunately the homeowner had access to a firearm, which she used to protect herself and her family.
Deputies later learned the victim was there with her two young children when Rheams got into the home.
The department said the woman confronted Rheams and fatally shot him.
Rheams was out on parole at the time of the shooting, having served 20 years in prison for armed robbery. Deputies also believe he tried to carjack someone just hours before the shooting.
No one was arrested, but prosecutors are expected to review the case.
The local D.A. may take a look at the woman’s actions, but Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Jimmy Travis says that the initial police investigation indicates this was a matter of “”a homeowner exercising Second Amendment rights to protect herself and her children.”
Police haven’t released any details about the attempted carjacking that Rheams allegedly engaged in a few hours before he broke into the woman’s home, including how the would-be victim was able to get away, but whatever the reason it apparently wasn’t enough to persuade Rheams to head home for the night, which would have been the best outcome for everyone involved.
I’m sure that the mom who was forced to defend herself and her two kids didn’t go to bed on Saturday night hoping and praying that someone would make their way into her home while she slept just so she could use her gun. She might not even have been expecting or anticipating trouble showing up at her door. Still, when a stranger called, she was able to react and respond quickly enough to stop the threat without any serious injuries to herself or her kids because she was prepared for that possibility.
I keep a fire extinguisher in my kitchen, but I hope I never have to use it for its intended purpose. I feel the same way about my home defense guns; I’m glad I have them, but I would be just fine going through my entire life without ever having to pull the trigger to defend myself, my wife, or my children. I realize, however, that ultimately that decision isn’t up to me; it’s up to guys like Robert Rheams to decide whether or not they’ll pass by my rural home or choose it (and us) as their next target. The odds of that happening to me may be slight, but so too are the odds that a fire will break out while we’re cooking dinner. In either circumstance, I don’t want to be caught unawares and unable to handle the threat to hearth and home. We might not be able to choose whether or not we’re the targets of violent criminals, but we do have a choice in how we’ll respond, and I’m very thankful that this mom in Hammond, Louisiana chose not to be an unarmed victim.