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Woman, 67, Hears Front Door Handle Shaking, She Finds an Armed Man and Shoots Him Dead: Deputies

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A Florida woman shot and killed an armed man who attempted to open her front door in the middle of the night, according to police.

Deputies in Putnam County reported the incident occurred in the early morning hours Wednesday in the small town of Interlachen, about 30 miles east of Gainesville.

A 67-year-old woman told deputies was home alone when she heard the handle to her front door turn and she made the decision to unlock it, according to a Facebook post by the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office. She believed her husband might have been on the other side, so she answered the door.

That was when 64-year-old Reginald Best barged in, according to the sheriff’s office.

“The woman who was armed with a firearm told Best to leave the residence multiple times,” the post said. “The woman told deputies Best raised up both arms and she saw he had a firearm in his hand.”

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The woman fired one fatal shot at Best and immediately dialed 911, according to the sheriff’s office.

It said numerous calls had been placed about the would-be home invader. Because of that, deputies were en route to the area at the time of the shooting.

Deputies believe Best might have been in the throes of a mental health episode.

“Prior to the shooting deputies had received several erratic calls from Best and another female at [in the area]. During one of the calls Best had told dispatchers he was hiding from his neighbors and there were people in orange standing outside his residence,” the sheriff’s office said.

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“In the call from the other female, she told dispatchers Best had jumped out of the window [of a residence] with a firearm and ran down the street.”

Putnam County Sheriff H.D. “Gator” DeLoach praised the woman who shot Best for the actions she took to save her life – during and prior to her encounter with the 64-year-old.

“All firearm owners have a responsibility not only to themselves, but also to their families to maintain proficiency with a gun, as our victim here today clearly has,” DeLoach said in a statement. “If it were not for her foresight to arm herself, the outcome could have been much graver.”

The sheriff lamented Best’s death but said the shooting was the only reasonable action a homeowner in such a situation could have taken.

“It’s unfortunate that Best was struggling with some apparently profound issues and posed a deadly threat to the victim and her family,” DeLoach said.

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“She absolutely had the right to defend herself and I’m grateful that her decisive action stopped the threat, and eliminated the risk of further loss of life, making her entire neighborhood safer.”

The sheriff, purely judging from his statement about the shooting, appears to embody the very best of what our country’s law enforcement has to offer. Traits such as empathy, intelligence, knowledge of the law and trust in law-abiding citizens are commendable.

Americans do possess a sacred right to defend themselves, those they love and their property from people who are or might be motivated to harm them.

In this case, from what little we know about Best, it appears he was struggling with some form of impairment, cognitively or otherwise.

While his death is a tragedy in its own right, this situation could have ended with a woman who was minding her own business dead or significantly harmed in her own living room.

Thankfully, she chose to exercise her Second Amendment right to arm herself.

And fortunately for her, she lives in a state and a county where public servants honor that right.

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Johnathan Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor, and producer in radio, television and digital media.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.




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