While California has some of the most restrictive gun-control laws in the nation, armed self-defense is still alive and well in the state. Here are five recent examples of Golden State residents protecting themselves or their families with firearms.
A couple woke to the sound of a man screaming in their backyard around 3:15 a.m. The husband yelled at the man and told him to get off his property, while his wife called 911. The man threatened the couple before shattering a glass door and entering the home where the couple’s baby slept. The husband retrieved a firearm and fired, killing the intruder. It was reported that the 22-year-old man had been hallucinating and ranting about zombies at a party just hours before. (Los Angeles Times, Yorba Linda, Calif., 11/26/13)
A 23-year-old man was the victim of a home invasion that involved three armed suspects—two women and a man—who forced their way into his home and demanded cash. In an effort to defend himself, the homeowner drew his own gun and fired multiple rounds. The male suspect was pronounced dead at the scene, while both women fled. One of the female suspects was located after seeking medical attention for a gunshot wound. It was last reported that the suspect remained hospitalized and in critical condition, while the third suspect remains at large. The resident of the burglarized home was unharmed. (Contra Costa Times, Cherryland, Calif., 2/14/14)
Four siblings—ages 22, 18, 11 and 8—were at home just before 6 a.m. when the eldest heard the sound of someone attempting to gain entry through a door. Soon thereafter, he spotted two people he did not know inside the home. He quickly retrieved a handgun from a safe and confronted the suspects. He and at least one intruder exchanged gunfire. The resident was struck by multiple rounds, as were the two intruders. One suspect died at the scene. Two more suspects waited in a getaway car outside and drove the other wounded suspect to a nearby medical center. It was last reported that they are still at large. The injured resident was taken to a local hospital for treatment as well and was reportedly expected to recover. (The Fresno Bee, Orosi, Calif., 5/27/14)
Cell phones, a home security system and a gun were used to allow a California homeowner to thwart a home invasion. A 53-year-old Antioch resident, whose name was not released, was working in his home office one day in December. His wife, who had left the home, received an electronic alert from the couple’s home security system provider saying that the system had been breached. She then called her husband, who grabbed his gun and went downstairs to investigate. The homeowner found two intruders pawing through his belongings and, fearing for his life, fired several shots, hitting one of the suspects. A few minutes later, two people arrived at the Sutter Delta Medical Center seeking treatment for a man who had gunshot wounds. Police arrested the man and his 19-year-old female companion. No details were available regarding what charges would be filed against the suspects. (San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco, Calif., 12/12/14)
Score one for a home defender. The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office announced earlier this year that Thomas Greer, an 80-year-old from Long Beach, Calif., who killed a 28-year-old woman during a July 22, 2014, break-in, will not be charged. Greer returned from work that day to find a man and a woman in his home trying to crack open his safe. The strangers said they were police officers, but later, they roughed him up, breaking his collarbone. While the interlopers returned their attention to the safe, Greer retrieved his small-caliber handgun from his bedroom. He returned to find the thieves had taken $5,000 from the safe. Greer shot three times, striking the woman in the chest and right knee. The male suspect, age 26, fled but was later apprehended and pleaded not guilty during a December hearing to charges that include murder (because someone was killed during the commission of a felony), burglary and robbery. (The Fresno Bee, Fresno, Calif., 1/27/15)