A Nurse with a Gun

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Knife at a Gunfight

Early in the morning, on June 15, 2006, Willie Brown awoke to find a man in his bedroom doorway brandishing a knife.

"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.

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Blogger AlanDP said...

I hope he has a backup to hold him over until/if he gets his gun returned to him. What a crock. Shoot an armed invader and get your gun confiscated.

12:49 PM  
Blogger Paul Simer said...

Somebody needs to buy that man a steak dinner.

1:15 PM  
Blogger Sterno said...

What is this world coming to when it's up to the D.A.'s office if an elderly veteran of a forign war has the right to defend himself from a burglar armed with a knife.

What a crock indeed!

3:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I would hate to have a pistol confiscated when used for ANY moral or lawful (sometimes you have to distinguish nowadays) purpose, I can definitely understand the reasoning. It is obvious someone has had lethal force used on them, and it is the police's job to punish criminals. The moment the police either decide that Mr. Brown is free of wrongdoing (they're not psychics, and criminals are known to lie) or there is not enough evidence to pursue a charge, he should get his pistol back.

The lesson here is: always have at least two pistols. :D

3:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He said that when he saw the intruder in his bedroom at 6:45 a.m., he thought he was back in Korea.

"I could have killed him," Brown said. "I did so much killing in Korea. What jumped in my head was that I was fighting in the war."


11:24 PM  
Anonymous Standard Mischief said...

From the news story:

...The man, wounded, uttered "Whoops," Brown said, and fled down the stairs. Brown pursued, and fired a second shot, striking the intruder as he jumped through a broken window.

Brown then ran to his front door and fired a third shot as the burglar crossed his yard. That one missed...

Hopefully, that little admission won't burn him. I know he got a shot of adrenalin upon being awakened, and he probably was stuck in the fight or flight mode, but the second and third shots were at a bad guy running away. IANAL, but I bet in Maryland he might be up against murder charges.

If I got on his jury, however, and I thought this story was straight, I'd weight the facts and then I'd hang the jury if I had to.

10:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish there was a fund set up to send him money for a replacement I would donate a few bucks to it.

11:16 PM  

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