Sheriff: man "having psychotic episode" shot by gun-owning homeowner

AP Photo/Marina Riker, File

A Kentucky homeowner who woke up to the sound of breaking glass on Sunday morning discovered a man with a chainsaw who had used the power tool to break through a glass door and gain entry into the home.


According to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, that’s when the homeowner fired several shots at the intruder, hitting him three times.

It appears the alleged intruder – identified as 44-year-old Richard A. Hamadany – was suffering from a psychotic episode, according to Mullins. “I think he was suffering from some mental illness issues. He thought he was hearing voices and thought somebody was screaming for help.

That’s when he tried to gain access to the residence,” [Sgt. Michael] Mullins said.

There was a husband and wife and two children in the home, Mullins said. Other than the chainsaw he picked up from the porch, Hamadany did not have any weapons on his person. At this time, Mullins said there is no indication of drug or alcohol use. “It just appears he was having a psychotic episode,” he said

While Hamadany may have believed he was trying to help someone in danger, in reality his actions terrorized the family and led the homeowner to reasonably believe that his family’s lives were in danger. In fact, if police are right that the suspect was suffering from a psychotic episode, there’s no telling what he might have done to the homeowner or anyone else inside the residence. Just because Hamadany might have thought he was responding to danger doesn’t mean that he wouldn’t have perceived the adults or children inside the home as a threat to himself or others, and he had a weapon (albeit an unusual one) by his side that he could have easily used to attack the innocent individuals he encountered.


Thankfully Hamadany survived his run-in with the armed homeowner, and will hopefully get help both mentally and physically while he recovers from his injuries. Once he’s released from the hospital Hamadany will have to deal with the criminal charges that have been filed against him, including burglary and wanton endangerment, but if he truly was going through a psychotic break at the time then I’d say he’s got a strong case for a finding of not guilty by reason of insanity, which would see him sent to a mental institution for treatment instead of packing him off to prison.

I can’t find any fault with the homeowner here, other than perhaps leaving the chainsaw on the back porch for Hamadany to use to break the glass on the home’s back door. I live in a rural area too, and it’s easy to think that we’re safe and secure on our property, but even in the wilds of central Virginia I take my doors and windows locked at night and try not to leave things on the porch that a would-be intruder could use to facilitate a break-in. Still, if Hamadany really wanted to get inside the home he could have grabbed a nearby rock or even smashed through the glass himself, and leaving an unsecured power tool around isn’t cause for anyone to commit a burglary.


Regardless, the homeowner isn’t expected to face any charges for protecting himself and his family from Hamadany’s violent intrusion into the sanctity of their home, which is definitely the right call. Hopefully this weekend will be a much calmer affair for everyone in the residence, and the family gets to wake up to the sound of an alarm clock instead of shattering glass and a stranger’s voice coming from inside the home.


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