Mr. Miller, a soft spoken middle school band and chorus teacher, doesn't wish to discuss with the media the events of the night when 22 year old Robert Tomlin broke into his home with a gun. He does affirm that his dogs, Riley and Jordan, were the real heroes. "They were truthfully heroes. And I owe my life to them, we owe our lives to them," he says. "Normally, if there's something happening on the street or in the neighborhood they'll bark and go to the blinds. You'll hear the blinds rattling. But this particular night they didn't. They started backing up into the bedroom. And that was what really started everything."
On the morning of February 16, 2009, Robert R. Tomlin entered Millers' home wearing a black mask and carrying a .40 caliber pistol. Tomlin had been using a cousin's home several houses away as a mail drop. It is not known for certain why he entered Miller's home in the dark of night wearing a mask and carrying a gun, but it's fair to say he wasn't collecting letters from his pen pal, and he wasn't impersonating the Lone Ranger. Tomlin had a violent police record. He had been arrested for domestic battery two times, once a with pregnant woman. He had assaulted a police officer, and he had numerous violations of probation.
As the dogs backed up in front of the intruder, Miller saw a silhouette carrying a gun in the doorway . Miller grabbed his own gun, and the two men exchanged gunfire. Tomlin was mortally wounded and collapsed at the back door. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Mr Miller and his wife are returning to work and are getting counseling. They had found a home in a safer neighborhood, and had finalized a lease after meeting several unexpected requirements concerning their dogs. Now, the owner of the house has backed out of the contract and moved back into the home they wanted. Oddly, the realtor had asked Mr. Miller about the home invasion he suffered the day before the owner took his property off the market. Unwilling to remain in the home where their security had been violated, the Millers are now living with relatives.
Often the actual shooting is only the beginning of the tribulations in a righteous defender's life. I hope in the coming weeks, months and years that Mr. Miller remembers that he is a good man, a solid man, a righteous man. It was not his choice to take a life. It was his choice to save his own life, and the life of his wife. Robert R. Tomlin forced that decision on Mr. Miller, and he had absolutely no right or justification for doing so. In the end, Heath Miller had no choice.
Labels: Home Defense