A South Carolina armed home invader who attacked a 79-year-old woman near her back door is dead after the victim’s 82-year-old Vietnam War veteran husband beat him down with the butt end of a shotgun earlier this week, according to local authorities.
Herbert Parrish snatched the firearm off a wall mount after the suspect, identified as 61-year-old Harold Runnels, broke into the home with a knife, knocked his wife to the ground and slashed her forehead Monday afternoon, Columbia, S.C.-based Fox 57 reported.
He lived in a nearby mobile home community, according to WJBF-TV, and approached by knocking on the back door and asking if the couple had seen a missing dog.
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Runnels later died at a hospital due to injuries sustained in the scuffle, according to authorities.
Aiken County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Eric Abdullah, a department spokesman, said residents should call 911 immediately if they suspect their home is being broken into.
“Of course, folks have the right to defend themselves if their lives are in danger, but the best thing to do is to call for help,” he told the Aiken Standard newspaper. “Every situation is going to be different. It may be a similar crime in nature, but every situation is going to be different. There’s no way to accurately predict exactly what actions that any person should take if somebody is trying to invade their home. The best recourse is to think smartly and get help on the way.”
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The Parrishes were not being charged. They were both treated for minor injuries but are expected to be OK.