Idaho Sheriff Praises Heroism of 85-Year-Old Woman Who Shot Armed Assailant

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When the Bingham County, Idaho Sheriff's Office announced last month that an 85-year-old woman had shot and killed an armed intruder in her home, they didn't reveal many details about the encounter. On Wednesday, however, as Bingham County Prosecutor Ryan Jolley announced that the woman would not be facing any charges, he shared the woman's incredible story of survival. 


Christine Jenneiahn.was asleep in her home early on March 13th when she was woken up by a man wearing a black ski mask who was pointing a gun at her face. The man slapped a pair of handcuffs on Jenneiahn and led her out to the living room, cuffing her to a chair and demanding to know where she kept her valuables. 

At one point the man, later identified by authorities as 39-year-old Derek Ephriam Condon, discovered that Jenneiahn's disabled adult son was in the home and threatened to kill her for not alerting him that someone else was in the home. That's when Jenneiahn decided she needed to try to get her gun.

When Condon went downstairs again at some point, Jenneiahn dragged the chair she was handcuffed to into her bedroom and got her .357 Magnum revolver, which was under her pillow.

She then went back into the living room and “hid the revolver” between the armrest and cushion of a couch next to where she was sitting while she waited to see what Condon did next, the review detailed.

“Her memory of exactly what happened next remains somewhat unclear,” according to the review.

She told investigators that at some point, Condon came back into the living room and threatened to kill her as he continued to burglarize her home.

Jenneiahn ultimately made the decision that it was “now or never” and drew her gun and “engaged Condon, striking him with both her shots.” Officials told she shot him in the area of his chest.

Condon returned fire and emptied a 9mm pistol, hitting her multiple times in her abdomen, leg, arm and chest.

Condon went into the kitchen, where he died from his wounds.

Jenneiahn fell to the floor, still handcuffed, in the living room, where she remained for about 10 hours, the review said.


Eventually her son discovered his mother and gave her a phone so she could call police. Authorities arrived about 12:15 that afternoon and immediately began treating her injuries. 

Jenneiahn is recovering from the wounds that Condon inflicted on her a month ago, and Jolley has officially concluded what must have been apparent to investigators from the get-go: Christine Jenneiahn had every right to defend herself and her son from her armed assailant.  

“This case presents an easy analysis of self-defense and justifiable homicide. It also presents one of the most heroic acts of self-preservation I have heard of,” Jolley wrote. “Any reasonable person would believe it necessary to defend themselves or their disabled child under such circumstances.”

He said the fact that Jenneiahn survived the encounter is “truly incredible.” Jolley said that her grit, determination and will to live appear to be what saved her that night.

“Had Derek Condon survived, I would be charging him with multiple felonies, including attempted murder, kidnapping, burglary, aggravated battery and grand theft,” Jolley added in his review.

The Bingham County Sheriff’s Office released in a post on social media, “We wish to make it clear that our intention is not to defame the name of the suspect involved or make a tragedy for his family worse. We are simply releasing the facts of the case and explaining that there was a victim involved that displayed heroism, fortitude, and a will to live that we’d be remiss not to share.”

 There are some places where Jenneiahn would have been charged with a crime simply for having her .357 under her pillow instead of in a locked safe with the ammunition stored separately. Thankfully Idaho has a much better understanding of our right to keep and bear arms than, say, California or Washington, D.C. 


Jenneiahn deserves every bit of praise from Bingham County officials, but the sheriff and prosecutor also deserve a pat on the back for highlighting the octagenarian's heroism instead of downplaying her defensive gun use. All too often, similar stories of survival receive almost no media attention or recognition by law enforcement beyond brief, initial reports that are lacking in specifics because of the ongoing investigation. I'm glad that Jolley and Sheriff Jeff Gardner understand the importance of sharing Jenneiahn's survival story; not only to praise this particular armed citizen, but to remind others that our safety is ultimately in our hands. 

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