Thursday, January 10, 2013

Georgia Mom Shoots Intruder

CBS Reports
In a 10-minute 911 recording released by the Walton County Sheriff's Office, Donnie Herman calmly explained what was happening to a dispatcher. His part of the conversation with his wife was also recorded. "Is he in the house, Melinda? Are you sure? How do you know? You can hear him in the house?" Donnie Herman said. His wife told him the intruder was coming closer.

"He's in the bedroom? Shh, shh, relax. Just remember everything that I showed you, everything that I taught you, all right?" Donnie Herman told his wife, explaining later to the dispatcher that he had recently taken her to a gun range.

After Donnie Herman told his wife police were on the way, he started shouting: "She shot him. She's shootin' him. She's shootin' him. She's shootin' him. She's shootin' him."  "OK," the dispatcher responded.

"Shoot him again! Shoot him!" Donnie Herman yelled. He told the dispatcher he heard a lot of screaming, but he seems to get increasingly worried when he doesn't hear anything from his wife.

Melinda Herman told police she started shooting the man when he opened the door to the crawl space. The man pleaded with her to stop, but she kept firing until she had emptied her rounds, she told police. She then fled to a neighbor's house with her children.

The man drove away in his SUV. Police found the SUV on another subdivision street and discovered a man bleeding from his face and body in a nearby wooded area. Police identified the suspect as 32-year-old Paul Slater of Atlanta.
She fired until the gun was empty and they guy was still able to drive away? And she kept firing even when they guy was down and begging her to stop?

These questions make me wonder about the story. What do you think?  Isn't there a better way to handle it when you see someone intent on breaking into your home?  Most burglars are not intent on rape and murder.  I would think if they knew there was armed resistance awaiting their entry they'd just go away.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.


  1. Mikeb, your side often asks why anyone would "need" an AR-15. Why anyone would "need" more than ten rounds. Why anyone would "need" this or that or the other.

    Here's your answer.

    And yes, someone who breaks into a home and pursues the occupant is there to do more than steal the spoons.

  2. MikeB: "She fired until the gun was empty and they guy was still able to drive away?"

    Yes. Even though she hit him 5 out of 6 times, the criminal was still fully functional. Handguns are not the "death rays" that people believe them to be.

    MikeB: "And she kept firing even when they guy was down and begging her to stop?"

    Yes. An attacker is a threat until they are unconscious, laying face down spread eagle, or have left the area. In this case the man that was able to back up, go down flights of stairs, get in his vehicle, and drive away was capable of inflicting great bodily harm to the woman and her children with his bare hands much less the crow bar he used to enter the home.

    MikeB: "Isn't there a better way to handle it when you see someone intent on breaking into your home?"

    As this case amply demonstrates, attackers sometimes continue be a threat to life after taking hits. And attackers on drugs are even more immune to hits. Further, the woman didn't know how many invaders might be attempting to invade her home. The women hid her children hoping the man or men (she had no way of knowing if there was more than one) would take something and leave without confronting her and her children. This is a good strategy given her limited training, limited amount of ammunition, and limited "stopping power" of her handgun.

    MikeB: "Most burglars are not intent on rape and murder."

    The problem with "most" is you never know which home invader is a "nice guy" (just wants to damage your home, terrorize you and steal your stuff) and which home invader is a rapist/murderer. My wife and daughters are not going to entrust themselves to the "good will" of a home invader. And neither am I.

  3. There are some subtle yet important lessons in this story.

    First of all, the mom had minimal training. And yet she was able to put 5 out of 6 rounds on target in a real world situation with stress and a full adrenalin dump. This demonstrates that hours upon hours of training are not necessary to operate a handgun and save your life -- especially at close ranges.

    Second, her handgun only carried 6 rounds of ammunition and she shot all 6 of them at the single intruder. She was out of ammunition and fortunately the intruder chose to stop his attack at that point. It would have been a very desperate situation if the attacker decided to continue his attack or if there were a second home invader. It would have also been a very desperate situation if the attacker had been cranked up on drugs which would make the attacker immune to the physical effects (pain) and psychological effects (horror) of being shot.

    Third, the home invader went through two or three locked interior doors to get to the mom and her children. Doors lock from the inside and the intruder had to know that someone was home. And the home invader didn't stop until he found the mom and her children. That isn't the activity of a typical burglar. Most burglars know they have to "get in and get out". Break in, find something of value (such as a large television) and get out in a hurry.

    These real life lessons are the reasons that many people "home carry" a handgun with a 13+ round magazine. And many people carry that handgun so they can quite literally buy enough time to get to a long gun with magazines with even more capacity.

  4. "Most burglars are not intent on rape and murder."

    Given that 60% of forcible rapes happen during home invasions, and 38% of assaults, I'd certainly not be banking on the intruder's benevolence in a home invasion.

    "I would think if they knew there was armed resistance awaiting their entry they'd just go away."

    This sounds like something straight off an NRA press release. What happened to the Mike we all know and love?

    1. Yeah, I'm sure the fear-mongering-for-monetary-gain Lock Jaw Security provides strait stats.

      My point was warning a bad guy verbally is often enough to scare him away. It's worth a try especially if you really are armed and know how to kill. We've seen cases where men stayed quite and allowed the guy to get all the way in and then blew him away.

  5. Mike,

    Regarding better ways to deal with a burglary, sometimes there's not another way out of the house, and even if there is, you may be running into the lookout. Besides, breaking into someone's home, especially when they are there, is a violation of the most personal kind. Rape or murder only add additional violations to the crime. We don't apologize for rapists saying, "He didn't mean to cause emotional harm or to hurt her," so why are we so willing to second guess a home invader and say the same about him?

    I understand that you want a merciful outcome, and that is a noble goal, but mercy is giving someone better than what they deserve, and that is a choice for the individual to make.

    Regarding the guy getting away under his own power, this isn't that uncommon. A doctor friend of mine told me about a patient who came in who's father in law had decided to kill him and emptied a .38 revolver into his face. The victim was a huge, burly dude with such a thick skull that he just required some reconstructive surgery to remove the bullets that were flattened against his skull, and treatment for a concussion.

    As people have said above, this is why we don't like the idea of limiting capacity to arbitrary numbers like 5 or 10 shots, because if an attacker is determined to do harm, it may take a lot of hits to stop him. Once the attack has stopped, the defender should certainly stop shooting, but it's nice to have enough bullets to be able to make sure the attack stops and you don't wind up running out and being at the mercy of a pissed off, wounded criminal who wants to do you more harm than ever.

    1. The impression I had in this story was the burglar did not know they were there.

  6. MikeB: "And she kept firing even when they guy was down and begging her to stop?"

    This is not the account that she gives, the account you have is the husband's version of what he is hearing over the phone.
    (since I doubt that they were on Skype or Facetime)

    He could not see what was going on and is not a "eye witness" to the event.

    Mom recounts that she shot Mr Paul, "not just there to steal the spoons" Slater, with all six rounds out of her revolver and then told him to leave.

    MR Paul Ali Slater– who was taken to the hospital with punctured lungs, a punctured liver, and a punctured stomach– has reportedly been arrested six times since 2008.

    Maybe if he had actually got a job and stayed the fuck out of other peoples homes instead of trying to emulate Barry Obama, trying to redistribute other stuff....


    Now the state of Georgia has him where they can keep an eye on his thieving ass.....

    And hopefully he will get to go to prison....

    And Mrs 5 out of 6 gets a Glock 21 with a 33 round magazine and does not stop shooting till she runs out of ammo next time.

    1. Only questionable thing the wife (defender) and her husband did was buy the wrong gun.

      1. 12 ga. with 4 or 5 shot is more lead and need less accuracy

      2. 40 or 45 cal with more capacity and after all is shot load
      the extra magazine in case there are others or he comes

  7. Mike, are you going on record calling this an "illegitimate DGU"?

    1. No, did you see that somewhere in what I've said?

    2. You said you “wondered” about the story, and that there were better ways to handle it. That is consistent with other times where you call a DGU bogus because you think shots should not have been fired. But, you’ll note I fairly asked this to you as a question to get a straight response. You say “legit”, so we’ll chalk this one up for the good guys.

  8. There's. A much better way to handle a home invasion if you're home. Grab the 12 guage loaded with buckshot, point at intruders torso. Pull trigger.

  9. I KNOW she did the right thing. If I see someone trying to break into my home, I am assured they are there for no good, because the only people who belong there are the ones who know the passcode in order to get in. Believe me, I'm not going to walk up to a burglar who is in the process of trying to break into my home and say, "Now, I'm sure you're just feeling bad about yourself and you really don't want to steal any of my stuff. That would make me FEEL bad. Why don't we just sit down and talk about this over a cup of coffee? I'm sure you'll feel better, we'll become friends, and you won't ever want to do this again." UMMMM....NO. I don't THINK so. Anyone who has gained access to my home without my permission is fair game. I am not going to stop to ask them if they are they to use the facilities, make lunch, steal my stuff, rape me, or kill me. They gave up the right to conversation by knowingly being somewhere they should not be. With that one choice, they have become a threat to me. Thanks to my husband, my gun safety class, our time at the range, and my new .22 Sig Saur, I'm NOT AFRAID OF ANYTHING, thank you very much. And you don't EVEN want to come between me and my grandkids or my Godchild or ANYONE I love. I target shoot. I do not own an assault rifle. But if you're an intruder in my home, I've just changed your name. All I can say is, "Hello, Target!!"

    1. Anonymous,

      If you come back here and see this, please make sure you have good, powerful hollow points in the Sig. .22 is a bit anemic if one can handle something bigger, but if you need to use the .22, remember shot placement and get good ammo so that you don't just piss off an invader and have him get more aggressive.

      Also, for home defense, consider a Ruger 10-22 or some other .22 rifle--less chance of missing the intruder, and the longer barrel will give you some more velocity.

  10. You NEVER assume an intruder is just there to take your gameboy. If you feel there is imminent threat of danger, you shoot until the threat is stopped.

  11. Yeah Mike the son of a bitch got shot 5 tiimes because she unloaded the gun, however he would not have got shot if he didn't break in to her house and chase them into the closet. Instead she would have just been raped and killed in front of her kids. no big deal as long as no one was shot right?

  12. Mike,

    Lest you or anyone else think we just want to shoot anyone who gives us an excuse:

    No shots fired, just an incident of a display of greater force, and a robbery stopped.

    1. That's a good example of proper restraint, but I didn't think what you said.