Santa Rosa County, FL – Santa Rosa County Florida Sheriff Bob Johnson wants homeowners in his county to know that it’s okay to shoot an intruder who breaks into their home, and he wants them to improve their aim.
Sheriff Johnson briefed the public on the arrest of a “frequent flyer” at a press conference broadcasted on Thursday.
The sheriff said multiple people called 911 on April 20 and reported a suspicious person lurking in the Pace neighborhood and breaking into multiple homes, The News & Observer reported.
About 40 minutes after the initial 911 call, gunfire was heard as a homeowner opened fire on the intruder, who fled and continued to run through the neighborhood.
Sheriff Johnson said Brandon J. Harris was apprehended when he jumped out the window of a bedroom in a home he’d broken into and deputies were waiting there for him, The News & Observer reported.
Harris had not been shot and came away from the arrest with just cuts from fencing he’d scaled.
The sheriff said the homeowner who shot at Harris had not been identified and he called on the person to come forward.
“I guess they think they did something wrong, which they did not,” Sheriff Johnson said. “If somebody is breaking into your house, you’re more than welcome to shoot them in Santa Rosa County. We prefer that you do actually.”
“We have a gun safety class that we put on every other Saturday and if you take that, you’ll shoot a lot better and hopefully you’ll save the taxpayers’ money,” the sheriff said.
He said he hoped Harris’ felony burglary spree would put him behind bars forever.
“Some people don’t learn,” Sheriff Johnson said. “For us, he’s job security. I mean we deal with him all the time.”
“Hopefully this time he’ll go and he won’t get out,” the sheriff said. “He basically chased a woman into her house and she had kids in her house. And she locked the door just in time as he got to the door and started pulling on it.”
“Hopefully he goes to prison for the rest of his life on this one,” he added.
Sheriff Johnson said Harris had been arrested 17 times and was facing seven new felony charges after his arrest on Wednesday.
Florida law says “a person who is in a dwelling or residence in which the person has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and use or threaten to use,” The News & Observer reported.