When an American gun owner is awoken in the middle of the night by someone breaking into their home, the typical response is to greet that potential threat with a firearm and, if warranted, to judiciously apply the appropriate amount of firepower needed to stop the threat.
That appears to be what went down early on Sunday in Lakeland, Florida, according to TheBlaze, when an older resident of the city stopped a young man from entering his home at 3:00 a.m. with a single shotgun blast to the chest.
The homeowner, 66-year-old Michael Ives, and his wife Charlotte awoke to the sounds of their doorbell ringing repeatedly and loud bangs on their front door.
While his wife called the police, Ives grabbed his shotgun and went to investigate. He found a belligerent 19-year-old named Gabriel Jacobs screaming obscenities as he attempted to kick in the door.
Ives warned Jacobs that he had a shotgun and asked him to leave multiple times, but Jacobs refused and eventually managed to kick the door open. Ives issued a final warning to the man to not come any closer, and when the intruder nevertheless did, the older man let loose with a blast from the shotgun.
According to Lakeland’s The Ledger, police arrived on scene shortly thereafter and Jacobs was transported to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center, where he was listed in “severe, critical condition” with a gunshot wound to the chest.
“We don’t know why he was at the house,” stated LPD spokesman Sgt. Gary Gross. “His family said he has had an issue with drinking.”
As for Ives, he will not be charged with any crime in the incident, as Gross stated, “The homeowner was well within his rights.”
”(Jacobs) was combative with the emergency personnel on the way to the hospital,” added Gross. “If he lives, he will be charged at least with breaking into an occupied dwelling. We know he’s not leaving the hospital anytime soon.”
An investigation into what exactly Jacobs was doing at the residence is currently underway, and police located an unoccupied red Chevy Impala near the scene that belonged to Jacobs’ stepfather, and was confirmed to have been used by Jacobs.
“It appears that the Chevy Impala hit several street signs,” Gross said. “We’ll look at the car and try to match the damage up.”
According to WFLA, family members of Jacobs have stated that the entire incident was a big misunderstanding and the young man was not looking to cause any trouble.
“The car wrecked. He needed help. He was looking for help,” explained Jacobs’ older brother Eric.
“Right now, he is still alive. He does have a heartbeat,” the elder Jacobs said of his younger brother’s condition. “It ain’t looking good. It ain’t looking good at all. They got him in surgery and we are all just hanging in there praying for the best.”
“I am hoping he can pull through this and possibly get this right with his name,” he added. “He is not here to tell his side and everyone is quick to forget that. They kind of brush that off but he can’t say what happened. He is not here.”
Given the family-admitted drinking issue of Jacobs and late hour, it is entirely possible that the young man may have wrecked the car and sought assistance in a drunken stupor, or perhaps even mistakenly thought he was forcing his way into his own home. Regardless, the homeowner couldn’t be expected to have known that at 3 a.m. while his door was being kicked in, and was entirely justified in taking action like he did.
The police will likely sort all of that out once their investigation into the incident has been concluded.
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