While parents are expected to be fiercely protective of their children, grandparents can be equally formidable. Following are five instances when grandparents took up arms in defense of themselves or their families.
Dave Knittle was at home watching television when his 16-year-old grandson, who had been at home alone next door, came in and frantically explained that two men had just forced their way into the house. The men had allegedly barged into the wrong house looking for a man they claimed owed them money. They took Knittle’s grandson’s cell phone and kept him restrained while they searched the home. Knittle called the police before confronting the intruders with his 9 mm handgun. Knittle said, “I didn’t do anything any other grandfather wouldn’t have done.” After exchanging harsh words with the intruders, Knittle said they fled. One of them was later apprehended and charged with robbery, criminal trespass and theft. The second suspect was reportedly still at large. Knittle and his grandson were not harmed. (Times News, Lansford, Penn., 3/11/14)
63-year-old Elzie Pipkins was at home in Shreveport, La., when an intruder armed with a shotgun forced his way inside the house. Once inside, the intruder ordered Pipkins’ granddaughter to fill a bag with valuables, while Pipkins begged the criminal to leave with the money in her purse. Pipkins eventually led the intruder to a safe where she keeps some change and a handgun. Pipkins opened the safe and offered the change to the intruder, at which point the criminal took a hand off his shotgun, giving Pipkins an opportunity to retrieve the pistol from the safe and fire it at the robber. The home invader was struck once in the chest and fled before collapsing a block away from Pipkins’ home. Following the shooting, Pipkins made clear she did not relish shooting the criminal, stating to a local news outlet, “Just $55 in coins, and he lost his life. Lord Jesus, I wish the young people today would just think, go to school, get an education and a good job, and buy what you want ... Don’t try to take from someone who has worked all their life and still doesn’t have nothing to give.” (The Shreveport Times, Shreveport, La., 1/6/14)
A grandmother was getting dressed at her home in Sarasota, Fla., when she heard a knock at the door. Unable to answer the door at that moment, the homeowner ignored the knock. A few minutes later, an intruder wearing a bandana broke in through a glass door in the back of the house. Seeing the home invader, the homeowner retrieved a .38-caliber handgun and fired twice at the criminal, causing him to flee. The police were able to locate the burglar after an anonymous tip led them to a nearby hospital where he sought treatment for a gunshot wound to his arm. A recording of the homeowner’s phone call to 911 confirms that she took no pleasure in her actions, as she told a dispatcher, “I’m so sorry. I would never hurt someone, but I was fearful of my life.” (WTSP, Tampa Bay, Fla., 7/10/12, The Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Sarasota, Fla., 7/10/12)
When a 79-year-old man heard arguing outside his home, he went outside to investigate. In the front yard, the man discovered his 17-year-old granddaughter being beaten by a 19-year-old male. When the grandfather confronted the suspect, he was threatened with a stun gun. The suspect approached the elderly man. The grandfather warned him to stop, but the suspect continued toward him. The grandfather pulled out a handgun and fired once. The suspect’s wound proved fatal. (Courier & Press, Evansville, Ind., 12/25/12)
After dropping off her teenage grandson, 57-year-old Lulu Campbell was sitting in her vehicle searching for her cell phone when two men approached with guns. Brenton Spencer, 32, and Dantre Shivers, 30, shouted at Campbell to open the door and give them her money. As Campbell reached for her .38-caliber revolver, she reclined the car seat in an effort to take cover as both men began to shoot at her. Campbell returned fire, striking Spencer in the chest and causing Shivers to flee the scene. Campbell was uninjured. (The Telegraph, Macon, Ga., 4/24/12)