While Ohio is not known as a high-crime state, law-abiding residents of the Buckeye State find themselves facing armed criminals from time to time. Fortunately, many are gun owners—and know how to use their firearm to defend themselves, their families and others.
After pulling into the driveway of his brother’s home in Columbus, Ohio, Kelby Smith removed his 2-month-old son, still in his car seat, from the vehicle. While still in the driveway, an armed robber approached Smith and demanded money, prompting Smith to kneel down to shield his son. Smith, a Right-to-Carry permit holder, handed the man a small amount of money then drew a pistol, at which point the criminal retreated. But during his escape, the robber turned and pointed his gun at Smith, prompting Smith to shoot the criminal. Police captured the wounded robber a short time later after he sought medical treatment at a local hospital. Smith and his son were not harmed during the incident and police have not charged the armed citizen. (The Columbus Dispatch, Columbus, Ohio, 1/8/2012)
Landon Harr was at home with elderly family members in Columbus, Ohio, when three armed men in masks and gloves broke into the house. The criminals threatened to shoot the elderly family members and forced Harr to open a safe inside the home. The robbers then took Harr and his uncle to the porch, but as the criminals struggled with the safe, Harr ran inside and retrieved a gun. Harr fired three shots at the criminals, who fled through the back yard. Later, Harr recounted the incident to the local media, stating, “All I could do was shoot back at them if they gave me a chance … I wasn't going to stand there and die. Nobody's going to do that.” (WBNS, Columbus, Ohio, 8/24/2010; WSYX, Columbus, Ohio, 08/27/10)
Police said a carryout restaurant employee was restocking shelves and cleaning after hours when two masked burglars entered the store by breaking a lock off a security gate and shattering the glass of the front door. Hearing the ruckus, the employee, armed with a handgun, went to investigate. When one of the intruders confronted him with a crowbar, he shot him once in the upper chest, killing him. The dead man's accomplice fled, but police apprehended him two blocks away. The suspect was charged with murder for committing a felony in which an accomplice was killed, and with aggravated burglary. (The Columbus Dispatch, Columbus, Ohio, 7/1/2006)
Eric Webster simply couldn't believe this was happening to him again, but he was going to put a stop to it this time. Webster had just let his dog outside after finishing an evening card game with his friends. The dog began barking loudly, and Webster stepped outside to investigate. As he walked toward his driveway, a masked man put a gun to his head and announced, "Don't move or I'm gonna kill you." Just four months previously, Webster and his wife had been held at gunpoint while their house was ransacked and their truck stolen. Webster thought of his wife and kids, now sleeping just inside, and took action. "I wasn't going to do it," he said. "I wasn't going to let it happen again." Webster ran back into his house to get the rifle he'd purchased after the previous robbery and yelled for a friend inside to get his gun as well. They then ran back outside and discovered two masked men by the side of the house. Webster and his friend fired at the suspects, who jumped into their car and took off. Webster and his friend followed the would-be robbers in Webster's car and contacted police by cell phone. The chase ended when the suspects crashed their car and the men took off running. A bag containing several guns was recovered from the vehicle. Webster recognized one of the handguns as one taken from him during the previous robbery. The suspects were eventually caught and taken into custody. (The Columbus Dispatch, Columbus, Ohio, 2/7/2003)
When an armed burglar wearing a ski mask broke into Patricia Mathias' basement early one morning, the frightened 63-year-old Keene, Ohio, resident went to investigate. Feeling a cold draft upon opening the door, Mathias retreated to her bedroom for a .22-cal. semi-automatic pistol and returned to the basement stairs. When she stepped down, an exchange of gunfire followed in which Mathias felt a bullet whiz by her ear. Her tormentor was not so lucky and suffered a fatal wound. His body was dumped in a ditch by an accomplice and was found eight days later. (The Columbus Dispatch, Columbus, Ohio, 2/23/1999)
Judy Stanton's crazed former boyfriend had already killed four people, including a four-month-old girl, in a Columbus, Ohio, shooting spree and was now headed for Ashland to get her. Just as Stanton and her husband, Doug, prepared to flee their home with their four children, the assailant arrived, firing at least three rounds through a back door before kicking it in. Doug returned fire with his own handgun, striking the killer in the chest. Though the shots failed to seriously injure the bulletproof-vest-clad suspect, they did encourage a swift retreat. Soon after, he surrendered to police. "He would've killed them," Columbus Police Sgt. James Longerbone said of the suspect. "And who knows where he would've gone from there." (The Columbus Dispatch, Columbus, Ohio, 11/21/1995)