Knife at a Gunfight
"He said, 'Don't move, I got a knife.' I said, 'You got a knife, huh?' He said, 'Yeah.'" related Mr. Brown. "I reached under my pillow and came up firing my .38 Smith and Wesson. He said, 'Oops' and turned and ran down the steps. I followed and shot him again," the 74 year old Korean war vet continued.
The intruder bailed out of the window he used to enter Brown's two story St. Louis home and scurried across his yard. Brown then ran to his front door and fired a third shot as the burglar crossed his yard. Mr. Brown believes that shot missed. St. Louis Police did not identify the suspect, but said he was in custody. The intruder had stolen cash from a pair of Mr. Brown's pants, though Mr. Brown didn't realize it until later.
Capt. Henry Williams of the East St. Louis Park District police spotted a man speeding in a white Neon automobile. "He appeared to be heading right into me," Williams said. "He hollered out that he'd been shot. I took off behind him with lights and my siren on. At 40th Street and Caseyville Avenue, Washington Park police officer Wendell Wilson blocked him in. I took his car keys," Williams said.
Williams said he saw blood on the back of the suspect's red and white shirt. There was a bullet hole in the man's back. The suspect's condition was not immediately available and police refuse to state how many times he was shot. Mr. Brown said he believes he hit him with at least twice out of the three rounds he fired. East St. Louis Detective Ricky Perry, who is investigating the case, said police were called to Brown's home at 4:48 a.m. Brown's handgun was confiscated by police. Although it's not likely Brown will be charged, Perry said he would present the case to the state's attorney's office and let them make a decision. "My wallet was lying on the floor near the bed," Brown said, adding that he wanted his money back because it was all he had.
Mr. Brown spent 13 years in the US Army. He said he was a special forces member in the Korean War. He said he knows the suspect could have stabbed him, but he was never worried because of his military training. He said that during the Korean War, he kept his rifle, a M1911A1 pistol and five grenades with him while he slept in the trenches. "I might be old, but I am not slow. And I ain't afraid to take one down. I shot him in the shoulder, I believe. I think he might be through breaking in people's houses for a while," Brown said. The home invasion "messed up my whole day." Mr. Brown stated, "I was supposed to paint my daughter's house and take a friend to the doctor."
Willie Brown has lived at the same address for 30 years. He never experienced crime at his home until a few weeks ago when someone took two ladders from his yard. "I don't know why these young people won't get a job like I did when I was their age," Mr. Brown said. "I cut grass."
Thank you for your service Mr. Brown, both in Korea and St. Louis.