The Aftermath: Criminals Go Where the Money Is

Welcome to Aftermath, a portion of our First Line email newsletter where Attorney Anthony L. DeWitt walks you through a real-life self-defense incident and shares his key takeaways.

Two Columbia, Missouri, men decided an isolated home in a gated community would be easy pickings and broke in thought a bedroom window. The noise alerted the homeowner, who was upstairs at the time. He retrieved his firearm and confronted the two men, shooting both. One died at the scene, the other was treated and later charged with felony murder for the death of his cohort in crime. The elderly homeowner was not injured. Police had not been to the neighborhood in the past 10 years and neighbors described it as peaceful.

Another option would have been for the homeowner to arm himself, retreat to the nearest room, lock the door and call 911. How would have you responded if faced with a similar scenario? What would you have done differently?


The exact same way. However I would not miss the second target!
My home is not easy pickings and that locked door and window are there for their protection!
RETREAT :question: That’s not exactly in the American psyche.
Defunding is working well. Call 911, by the time they finish with, “ 911 what is your emergency, where are you calling from, are they still…?” Bang, bang, hello, hello.

I’m already on scene!
911, what’s your emergency? No emergency, whenever you get here is good, just bring a clean up crew, thank you for choosing 911, your call is important to us!

IMHO don’t be the chalk outline!

I don’t have steel interior doors nor do I have a safe room.
911, when and if they decide to come, will not be fast enough!


We are our own first responders now and until Sanity and Reason returns to this .gov
I will do everything in my power to keep my Family safe and Protected.
There are Security measures announcing to Bad Elements ‘DON’T, Just DON’T!’
(Worked for Pudding Pants didn’t it?) :crazy_face:
Cops in Albuquerque are Non-existent now. Where you use to see patrols nightly our sub stations
are locked now overnight (Not a good message to Innocents)
The MESSAGE this administration is CLEAR we don’t matter!
My ‘Safe Room’ is for my Family member if I go down in the fight.
THIS IS MY HOME, THIS IS MY SANCTUARY , and if you Invade you will pay the Ultimate penalty
As Scott just said

I’d add …"and a dozen donuts and Cokes if you are already in the parking lot!’ what the heck right?
all those questions and waiting for my USCCA Attorney will make me famished!



Were there any others (such as family members) present in the home at the time?


There are several different ways to attend to this scenario. Several opinions on how best to proceed and none of them are all the way wrong or all the way right. Too many variables. I choose to deal with the facts I have in front of me.

My home defense plan has been well documented and critiqued on this forum. I am an old fart and I am not a Tier 1 Operator. I do own firearms and I do train regularly.

I live in a small house. If someone does get in my house from any access point they are already within 20 - 30 feet from a family member. The best I can do is try to restrict them to the front part of the house and wait for Po-Po to arrive.

Most of the windows in the house have obstacles either outside or inside the house to cause a serious amount of noise, therefore waking up everyone in the house. Once awake, I grab my trusty scatter-beam (also well documented and critiqued) and I post myself as guard while my Wife collects younger Sons into the Master bedroom. If able, I get my oldest Son into the Master bedroom as well. Then we barricade.

We have enough weapons and ammo in the Master bedroom to wage a fairly lengthy war if required.

The only room in the house without obstacles for a home invader to be able to get through a window is our front room, but there is the issue of that room being where my oldest Son sleeps. With the sound of someone breaking through the double paned “float glass” windows (tougher than regular rolled glass), the intruders would awaken the Ninja Spider Monkey I call my Son and they would never see the light of day again. Not specifically dead, but buried somewhere the sun does not shine. He has an unrealistically large collection of knives, axes, and swishy-pokes at his disposal as well as his Grand Dad’s Browning A5 Autoloader.

If they do come into the back part of the house, they will be faced with a naked, 60+ year old fart with a tactical shotgun and the skill to use it, in the middle of the night. All bets are off at that point.

That is my plan and I’m stickin’ to it.


What floor was the homeowner on and what floor did the confrontation occur on?

It says homeowner was upstairs, but where did they enter and where did they confront?

Were they armed?


This is our primary plan. Our safe area is the most easily defensible place in the house with only one access that requires turning and coming down a narrow funnel towards concealed and partially covered defenders. The rest of the house has an open floor plan so engaging threats while keeping my family covered would be unnecessarily challenging.

That is assuming we can all get to the safe area before coming into contact with the home invaders. If we can’t then I would likely have to confront the invaders long enough for my family to get to the safe area.


911 works for some things but don’t count on the leo’s getting there in time if at all. oh and u can’t hold them at fault if they don’t show up the highest court in the land said so. so pick your targets and take them out.


I would have picked a different house where no one was home.


I simply pick going to work and getting my stuff legally.


Dam your good.


The sheriff is at a minimum of 15-20 minutes away at best, between the dogs, a German shepherd and a Rottweiler mix they would be in trouble.


I’m guessing that no one else was in the home when this happened, but it doesn’t say.

Fortunately, I have a one-story home. If the bad guys get to the area where I am (and my guns are) then they have crossed the line and they will be dealt with.

I never heard of a surviving criminal being put on the hook for his cohort being charged for his partner being killed. That’s a great law!


Many unknown variables, but I can say, more often than not, I will never break contact and lock myself inside a room. Once you break visual contact, you have no idea what they’re doing and now you’re waiting for your bedroom door to get kicked in.


My family is trained to remain in their room if they are awakened by home invasion. Every one has their personal fire arm and gets to practice using it on the back property. Dry fires are common as routine. Muscle memory is primary goal. Using TV shows to identify bad guys and avoid trigger squeeze in good guys.
I cringed at the thought of someone coming down stares to investigate. Too scary for me. We lock/load, paint the (locked) bedroom door, and call 911. Because of all the practice, we are fully aware to identify target before selecting pelvis, chest, or head to squeeze trigger on. No family member will barge into a locked room without first identifying self.

Not an expert. Just decided this is how we will address an in-home threat. We also have a house fire plan.


Don’t know the houses layout, is there a landing where he could conceal & take them out from cover, etc. But, first I would get to where I was just around a corner or as good a position as I could get, then send my trained protection German Shepherds (been training them since 59), then when contact was made, would do a low check, come out & depending on the time I had had in picking weapons, but usually, as a old combat Marine, I prefer .45s for close & personal, aus, platz the dogs & take care of business. By the way, waiting for the police will just get you killed since they are minutes to hours away & response is needed in seconds. Also, all my family was trained in how to react & how to shoot. ps: I was an instructor during my 28yrs & still am now.


Situations like this are simple, but complicated. By that I mean that there are multiple decision points and decisions to make. The “right” response may be to hole up and let them take what they want, taking no action until they come to me in my defensive position. The problem is that being awoken by a strange noise calls for investigating, not cowering or calling 911 without clear threat to articulate. I admit I am more sympathetic to many other members’ thinking–I will arm myself and move towards the sound, listening carefully and evaluating my tactical situation as that situation continuously evolves. If I am able to determine that an intruder(s) is present and my presence is not detected, I may very well retreat and call 911, while putting my wife on the floor and assuming a strong defensive shooting posture should they enter the master bedroom. If my presence is detected by the intruder(s) while I am investigating and the intruder(s) bolt for the exit, I’ll let them go. But if they move toward me, I will consider myself and my wife to be in immediate life or death peril and will shoot without further warning until I am satisfied the threat to us has ended. Bottom line: call 911 for the aftermath, not the cavalry.

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It is just me and my wife in our home and it is a ranch. We have a plan of action set up in case of a break in. My wife has a safe place with a weapon that she will go to and call 911.I will investigate while she does her part she will stay on with 911 until I give all clear or shots fired. She will remain in her safe location until LEO says they are there or I tell her it is safe.


I live in a single story home do going up or down is not an option. However if I did have a multi-story home I would stay put unless I need to go to wherever my wife was if she wasn’t with me. That being said, if someone broke into my home in whatever room, I would make sure my wife and I were secure and if possible I would call 911. I would then wait to see what the intruders did. If they entered the room or area where I was I would probably fire at them. I have mentally and physically practiced my tactical responses in every room in my home. I’m very comfortable with my plans and my training. One thing I would not do is go to the intruder.


Shoot first for protection of your home ask questions later or you may be the dead.