Around 1 p.m. Friday, police in Loganville, Ga., responded to a call from a worried husband who said his wife had just called him at work saying someone was ringing the doorbell and appeared to be preparing to break into their home with a crowbar.
The man’s 37-year-old wife hid with her 9-year-old twins in a closet as they watched the robber, later identified as Paul Ali Slater, “rummaging” through the family’s belongings, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“He opens the closet door and finds himself staring down the barrel of a .38 revolver,” said Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman. The woman, who remained unidentified, shot Slater five times, and while he was hit in the face and neck it wasn’t enough to knock him unconscious.
“I’m dying. Help me,” Slater cried as the woman stood over him threatening to fire again if he moved. The family ran to a neighbor’s home for safety while Slater struggled to his car, but the getaway was short-lived as police caught up with him not long after.
“That mother’s instinct kicked in,” Chapman told reporters. “You go after a mother’s kids and she’ll find herself capable of doing things she never thought she was capable of.”
While Slater is expected to survive, another burglar wasn’t so lucky.
Oklahoma authorities say a different mother who fatally shot an intruder when he tried to break into her home on New Year’s Eve was within her rights and will not be charged in the man’s death.
Sarah McKinley, an 18-year-old single mom, called 911 when she found two men trying to break into her mobile home in Grady County, Oklahoma. McKinley was home alone with her infant son and pushed a couch in front of her front door to block the intruders’ entry, but they managed to break through the barrier after about 20 minutes of effort.
McKinley asked the 911 dispatcher for permission to shoot the intruder - Justin Shane Martin, 24. Martin was holding a knife when he came through the door. Fox News reported Oklahoma law permits the use of deadly force for self-defense in the event of a home break-in.
“Well, you have to do whatever you can do to protect yourself,” dispatcher Diane Graham told McKinley. “I can’t tell you that you can do that, but you have to do what you have to do to protect your baby.”
Unlike in the Georgia home invasion, McKinley had no one to call for help. Her husband died just a week earlier -- on Christmas Day, in fact -- from complications due to lung cancer.
“Obviously when somebody breaks into your house with a deadly weapon, they’re not here for anything good,” McKinley said. “But I am very sorry and it wasn’t anything I wanted to do.”