I suppose if you’re a robber, you don’t know whether the house you’re breaking into is the home of a sheriff’s deputy. It’s a pretty unlucky thing, though — and it could end with a few bullets being fired at you.
At least Steven Thayer escaped with his life. The ax-wielding thief didn’t get away with anything else.
According to WKMG-TV, Orange County, Florida, sheriff’s deputy Bridget Erwin put several bullets into Thayer, who allegedly tried to burgle her house in Apopka, Florida, and then took him down via hand-to-hand combat.
Erwin was lying down in her bedroom at a little after 5 p.m. on Feb. 25 when she heard a knock at the door. Her 13-year-old daughter told her that the knock wasn’t at the front door — certainly a bit unusual.
The banging got louder — and then the glass broke.
The suspect had allegedly broken the glass with his ax and was now inside the house. That’s when Erwin got her firearm from work and went downstairs to confront the home invader. She told him to drop the ax but he didn’t, so Erwin fired her gun at him. She then told one of her children to get her handcuffs.
According to WESH, there was a struggle with the suspect, but Erwin was eventually able to subdue him. Meanwhile, her 13-year-old daughter called 911.
Other deputies say they heard her yelling as they approached the house and found the suspect on the floor, already handcuffed, with Erwin pointing her gun at him.
“She was in fear for her life and the lives of her children; she shot the suspect multiple times,” Orange County Sheriff John Mina said after the incident, standing up for his deputy and defending her actions.
Erwin, who has been on the force since May 2018, is on paid administrative leave while the shooting is investigated, which is standard procedure any time a deputy fires his or her weapon.
Apparently, Thayer had tried to break into other houses in the neighborhood, as well.
A man named John told the media Thayer had entered his house just minutes before he tried to rob Erwin.
“I hear my door slam, by the time I look over to the stairs, there’s somebody at the top of my stairs,” John said.
“Me and him started wrestling and I’m like, ‘Listen, get out of my house’ and I pushed him down the stairs.”
After that, Thayer allegedly went a few houses away — where, of course, there was a sheriff’s deputy.
“All of a sudden I hear pop pop pop, three gunfire,” John said.
“I knew she just went through the academy and everything and I kinda said to myself, ‘Dude you’re going to the wrong house.’”
Well, yes. As of Feb. 26, Thayer was in stable condition and was being charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and armed burglary of an occupied dwelling with a deadly weapon.
There are several takeaways from this story, the biggest of which is that while we can’t always be a sheriff’s deputy or have one in our house, we can still defend ourselves.
What we can have in our house is something to protect ourselves in the unlikely event that a home intruder decides to break in. It’s the same thing that Bridget Erwin had and it’s the same thing that it’s your constitutional right to own: a firearm.
Remember, it took the police a while to show up at Erwin’s residence even as her daughter called 911 as the invasion was happening. The gunshots didn’t stop the attacker, but it certainly slowed him down.
As for the deputy, good job. She not only managed to slow the alleged home invader down; she also used her bare hands to make sure he didn’t get away or hurt the rest of her family. Our hats are off to you, madam.
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