Rainier Valley Homeowner Shoots Would-Be Burglar

KOMO News (RVP news partner)

Seattle police say a would-be burglar was shot by a homeowner early Friday in Columbia City.

Police spokesman Mark Jamieson said the burglar was shot in the arm just before 2 a.m. at the home in the 5200 block of Rainier Avenue South.

The wounded man ran off and was found by officers on a Metro bus about 14 blocks north of where he was shot.

He was taken to a hospital and is expected to recover.

Police initially said the shooting occurred at a business, but later clarified that the building had been converted into a private residence.

The 66-year-old homeowner told investigators that he woke up after midnight when he heard banging sounds. He grabbed a shotgun a found a man standing in the entryway to his home.

Jamieson said the homeowner told police that he ordered the intruder to the floor and fired one shot when the man refused to comply.

Detectives found a bag of tools the intruder dropped at the scene after he was shot and said it appears the man tried to break in through a back door before entering through the front of the home.

The 37-year-old man will be booked into jaiul for investigation of burglary when he is released from the hospital.

The homeowner was not hurt.

27 comments on “Rainier Valley Homeowner Shoots Would-Be Burglar

  1. He is very lucky (the suspect) that the owner didn’t have a dollar or two in dimes loaded into the shell.

    That could get messy.

  2. Good for the homeowner, glad he is safe but sad that it takes a weapon to deter criminals and protect your property and family with these kinds of results today. While this could have gone terribly wrong for him, he stood his ground and used his gun safely to protect himself and even had the presence of mind to shoot the burglar where it would put him out of service, but not permanently. Is said homeowner former cop or military? Cant imagine a parent, uncomfortable with handling a gun but willing to use it to protect their kids, using this kind of discretion in a panicked situation. This is the happiest kind of ending a gun could render in this situation, short of no one having to use one, and it is worth talking about how to boost gun safety and awareness in the community as more homeowners start packing with the increase in crime in the valley and west hill.

  3. Interestingly…this was reported as a “business owner” rather than a home owner on King 5’s website. Unless, of course, there were two shotgun incidents this morning.

  4. This single incident and the news coverage will likely result in fewer home burglaries in the area. All it takes is one or two high publicity incidents such as this. This means your property values may start to go back up. It’s like getting paid to defend yourself.

    Clint Eastwood? Cop? Military? Business owner?

    All of these massive assumptions seem designed to reduce the impact of the story. Let the story speak for itself. A 66-year-old homeowner, just like YOU and YOU and YOU reading this, exercised his second amendment “out-dated” Consitutional rights and defended his home and his loved ones and himself.

  5. MarkB —

    You can purchase shotgun shells that have a handful of steel balls in them that will effectively take out anyone who comes into your home looking to potentially harm you or your loved ones. The short-barrel shotgun is the best home defense weapon, hands down. They are inexpensive, too – buy used at a local pawn shop such as DJ’s Loan and Sport in Bothell. They have many to choose from.

  6. Bob Hamilton-

    Do you own Dj’s Loan and Sport? J/K

    Imagine it a short double-barreled shot gun with dimes, you could make that guy into a $4.00 piggy bank.

  7. Mark B,


    “One was a wedding”. ROFLMAO.

    Solvay, the story says it. The crime was initially reported as a “business” by SPD. It’s a residence inside a business structure that is not longer rented for commercial activity, but residential. King 5 just picked up the initial report.

    Mark B,

    “One was a wedding.” I can’t hardly type. Bahahaha!

    All. “The Myth of the Shotgun”. Any shotgun, even one for home defense, can’t be shorter than a 18″ barrel. The spread pattern, using double 00 (pronounced “ought”) shot, at 25 feet is about the distance between two buttons on a dress shirt. A shotgun must be aimed. Finally, cops, on a range, shoot at about a 90% score on a range at 25 feet. Many studies show that, in a combat situation, where someone shoots at them, their percentage is 25%. For that reason, they train to shoot for the “center of mass” until the threat ends. That means the middle of the torso. If you think this 66-year old homeonwer hit the guy only in the arm by intention, dream on. A Navy Seal or Delta “operator”, that shoots 1,000 rounds per day in highly realistic training, might be able to be that selective, but not a cop, and certainly not a 66-year old, who hasn’t been to the range in who knows how long.

    Being a gun owner, for self-defense, is an option for everyone, and in my view ought to be. That said, its an awesome responsibility, not to be undertaken lightly. For a realistic discussion of what is involved I recommend, “The Gravest Extreme …” by Ayoub (a former cop). Also see the recently published “Seal Team 6″ by Wasdin. It is VERY difficult to hit a target under stress and requires exceptional training.

    Why do you think so many of these shootings in the Valley are not fatal? They are by dumb ass gang guys, with no training. They rarely hit each other, and then 3 out 4 live. Just scan the RVP archive and you will see what I mean.

  8. @george
    The first thing I thought when I read the story was, I know that was not intentional (just hitting him in the shoulder)

    “Why do you think so many of these shootings in the Valley are not fatal? They are by dumb ass gang guys, with no training.”

    You forgot to add “while holding the gun sideways like they saw in a movie.”

  9. george — the shotgun spread pattern depends on the shotgun choke and what’s packed in the shell. Try a shell with 8 balls in it, with an ultra-wide choke. Even with a normal setup at close range (25 feet) I rarely ever really aim with a shotgun because it will destroy the entire target every time. Pretty hard to miss, IMO.

    You’re right about the 18-inch barrel, but try buying a shotgun with less than that. You aren’t going to find it. You can cut off the end of your barrel but that’s illegal (in the US). I wouldn’t want to use that in a self-defense situation because you could get charged with manslaughter.

    A nice alternative is the Taurus 4410, also known as “The Judge,” which is a pistol revolver that takes .410 shotgun shells and also .45 Colt ammo. The barrel on that is pretty short. If you’re serious about home defense, it makes for a nice protector. You won’t likely miss using the shotgun shell with this one.

  10. Mark B —

    Yeah, if these gangs were serious about killing each other, they would be using automatic sawed-off shotguns instead of pistols. That might solve the gang problem overnight, though. A lot of people would be out of work.

  11. I can understand that it was reported initially that it was a business. Still can’t figure out where a residence is on that block, except for Rainier House.

    Anyone know which building it is?

  12. george said: “train to shoot for the “center of mass” until the threat ends. That means the middle of the torso. If you think this 66-year old homeonwer hit the guy only in the arm by intention, dream on. A Navy Seal or Delta “operator”, that shoots 1,000 rounds per day in highly realistic training, might be able to be that selective, but not a cop, and certainly not a 66-year old, who hasn’t been to the range in who knows how long.”

    This sounds related to what South Seattle Cop mentioned about what he called “the minimum force myth”.

    From what Ive learned, a dead giveaway for bad self-defense advice is for people that say to “knee cap” a bad guy…you see people say this nonsense on the local news websites. Anyone that recommends shooting or stabbing anyone in, say, the arm to draw blood to “scare a bad guy” is not a fighter and will just piss the guy off even more, draw their own weapons, or turn yours against you, etc…. You almost have to have a “criminal mentality” to be a fighter, if that makes any sense. “Fuck the rules, I’m gonna kill that [expletive]!”. If you don’t, weapons probably aren’t for you and could get you killed.

  13. The two obvious advantages of a shotgun (using a multi-ball load) for home defense, as distinguished from a handgun using one solid bullet, are: (1) the shotgun balls or pellets rarely penetrate the walls of an
    ordinary home, & (2) there is almost no risk of ricochet. Thus there is much less risk of harm to others in the home, or to by-standers next door or in the street. Does Mr Hamilton agree?

  14. Chas, I agree. That said, there are limitations to a shotgun as well. E.g. Not that easy to carry down the street, the barrel length makes it less manueverable in the home, it still needs to be aimed, etc. I’m not pro handgun or pro shotgun. Just recognize the trade-offs that go with either choice. The other thing I would say is, don’t go buy either one unless you are prepared to a) be a student of law on the subject of “use of force” and b) are prepared to spend the time and expense at the range of becoming highly proficient with the weapon and to keep that skill up. If you aren’t, don’t. The weapon is probably more of a liability to you, your family, your friends, your neighbors, than an asset. Be safe and responsible. Don’t just get a firearm, load it, and stick it the corner, or the night-stand drawer. If that is all you are going to do, than you are better off without.

  15. Don’t forget about some hand-to-hand training esp. martial arts that emphasize weapons like Escrima/FMA. IMO a knife is better up close weapons if you get into a grappling situation, you only need a 3-inch blade to organs. Also, they don’t out of ammo if you don’t use cheap noncombatantive knives…plus you can always have on you 100% of the time.

    “Gun guys” never seem to mentio knives for some reason…they are way more versatile and useful for utility….no one camps or hikes from the RV? I just hate the no fixed blades law in Seattle. That’s complete BS and won’t stop me from bringing a cheap CRKT “throw down” neck knife.

  16. The problem with a knife, is that it is not much good in a gunfight. You can’t use a knife (generally speaking) unless you are outnumbered or outmatched (e.g. bad guy vs. little old lady) or confronted with a deadly weapon. Pulling knife on someone, unless it is a self-defense situation, is the same as pulling a gun and will get you the same charge. If you are confronted with a firearm or threat of a firearm. As a former comand officer at the S. Precinct used to say, “Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.”

    Your best defense is not a weapon, or even “hand to hand” combat skills. It is good situation awareness, self-confidence, etc. that keeps you from being a target. I.e. You give off a “don’t mess with me” vibe that makes them pick another target.

  17. I totally agree with that, but you can’t always have a gun on you and, like I said, a knife is a better survival tool. And if you only rely on your marksmanship and have no idea how to use your body, even to transition to a weapon, you could be in bad shape. Plus martial arts gives you fitness, discipine, and increased bone density. Guns also run out of ammo and malfunction sometimes.

    You don’t believe in a multilayered approach to your carry system? handgun, folding knife, backup blade, OC, impact weapon like a flashlight or kubaton/metal pen?

    I’d rather just use verbal judo and athletic footwear than fight at all. Like you said before, avoid, avoid, avoid…but sometimes you’re just in the wrong spot at the wrong time for whatever reason.

  18. Well put.

    My actual preference would be to have Hiznonor and the Council take our security seriously enough for me to be able to reliably run, fort-up, etc. long enough for the guys with L & I coverage for lead poisoning to show up and use their superior training skills, etc. If I’m going to train to that level, I might as well suit up and apply for a badge.

    7 1/2 minutes average response time is an eternity with a bad guy, particularly a juvenille, that knows he will be out in 2 hours, and has no respect for his fellow human beings, that means you harm.

  19. FYI- as long as your shotgun barrel is over 18 inches in size, it is legal to use a sawed off shotgun for self defense in a home break in.

    And I have always been under the opinion that if someone breaks into your house and your life is in danger that you should intend to kill that criminal. But I understand in times of stress getting off a successful shot can be difficult, so a good method can be to use your bed or couch as a place to lay the weapon on while your waiting for the criminal to come into the room. This of course increases accuracy, and doesn’t allow the criminal to get close to you before you shoot.

  20. George —

    A person only really needs to go to the range twice a year to keep the weapon confidence level up. You make it sound like a massive time commitment… it isn’t. I hit the range every two weeks. My target skills are not significantly better than when I went once every six months.

    We’re talking home defense here. Running is not much of an option and it invites future breakins. The better solution is to lay in wait down low, behind something solid, and take the guy out with a single shot when he comes into your bedroom. When someone comes into your home, you have no choice but to assume they are there to kill you.

    You are right about being an “expert” on “use of force,” though the reality is that this is a five-minute discussion and doesn’t take much time at all to understand. Here’s a video so you don’t have to take a class on it…

    A quick verbal warning and if they do not turn around to leave, they are fair game. Assuming they are bigger than you, or are armed. Anything in their hand should do the trick.

    Again, the shotgun is the best bet. For home use, it’s perfect.

  21. Too bad the homeowner didn’t kill him. The people in this neighborhood need to take the power back. Unfortunately that means leveling the playing field by carrying weapons just like the thugs.

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