Akron, Ohio – A homeowner held an intruder at gunpoint early Tuesday morning after his house was broken into for the second time.
According to 73-year-old Daniel McGown, he had been out of town for a few days and on his return, he discovered someone had used one of his shovels to pry open the front door of his home.
Whoever had broken in had gone through his house and stolen 3 handguns, around 1000 rounds of ammunition of various calibers, and a couple of laptops. The thieves had also disconnected a few TVs from their wall mounts but left them lying face down on the floor of the home.
McGown remarked that since the burglars had neglected to take the TVs and other valuables in the home such as several iPad and Android tablets, they might return at some point to collect what they left behind.
McGown called the police and made a report of the theft, but after officers left, he remained wary and decided to sleep in a bedroom on the second story instead of the first, like he normally did, in case the intruders returned for their “loot”.
As an added precaution, McGown went to bed with a Sig Sauer 9mm pistol under the pillow next to him.
McGown’s fears of returning thieves turned out not to be misplaced when he was awakened to the sound of his doorbell being repeatedly rung around 5:15 a.m. the very next morning.
After 5 minutes or so of listening to the ringing doorbell, the retired attorney heard the front door being forced open against the makeshift barricade he’d put in place with a few ladders to keep the door shut.
McGown grabbed his pistol and made his way down the stairs to find 51-year-old Thomas Gaffney standing in his living room.
Now facing a loaded pistol and ordered to get on the floor, Gaffney attempted to explain away the reason he was standing in McGown’s living room during the early hours of the morning, but the homeowner wasn’t buying it.
“If you don’t move, I won’t shoot you,” McGown told Gaffney, to which he said Gafeney replied “Don’t shoot me.”
McGown now had a burglar at gun point, but soon realized he’d left his cell phone up in the bedroom in his haste to confront the threat.
He ordered Gaffney up and made him walk ahead up the stairs and lie face down on the bed while he called the police.
When officers arrived, McGown said he shouted to them as they walked up the stairs:
“I’m going to put this handgun on the floor, so nobody gets nervous,” to which he said, “… the cops laughed.”
Although Mcgown said he’s had his CCW permit for many years, this is the first time he’s had to point a gun at someone, but didn’t want to shoot unless he had to.
“If he had reached his hand towards a pocket or something where I thought he might have had one of the guns that went away last night or the night before, I might have been tempted to (shoot),” he said. “But I’m glad it didn’t come to that.”
When asked by reporters how he felt about the tense encounter, the homeowner said,
“At the time, I wasn’t adrenaline fueled,” he said. “At the time, I just wanted him to stay there until the police came. I didn’t want to have to do anything other than hold him. And it turns out I didn’t.”
Police arrested Gaffney, who had previous convictions for burglary, and charged him for the break-in. In his pockets police found a box of 9mm ammunition of the kind that was stolen from the home.
After law enforcement left his home to book the suspect into Summit County Jail, McGown said he promptly went back to sleep.
Reporters, apparently impressed by his level of calmness about the situation, asked how he could simply return to bed after such an intense situation, McGown replied with a chuckle,
“I’m 73 years old, I can sleep almost anytime.”
Reporters then asked how he felt about other citizens who might follow his example and take the law into their own hands as he did.
“I didn’t view it as taking the law into my own hands,” the retired attorney said. “What I viewed it as — my home was being violated and here was a guy doing it in my presence, here’s the guy and I wanted him to stop doing that. Once I made him stop doing that, I had no trouble going to sleep because I had done what I was supposed to do and no more.”
Last reports of the incident indicate the stolen property has yet to be recovered and police say they are working to find out if Gaffney was involved in the original break in.
An intense situation such as this is made more manageable with proper planning, training, and practice. Read here for the Complete Home Defense – Tactics For Defending Your Castle for the latest tactics and techniques.