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Homeowner Fatally Shoots Intruder During Midnight Break-In

Spanaway, WA – A homeowner fatally shot one of two intruders who broke into his home early Thursday morning, according to police.

The harrowing encounter occurred at a residence located in the 100-block of 165th Street East at approximately 4:20 a.m. on Dec. 9, KING reported.

The homeowner, Jerahme Smith, told responding deputies that two intruders kicked down the back door of his house, according to KCPQ.

Smith opened fire on them, fatally wounding one suspect, KING reported.

The second suspect fled the scene prior to deputies’ arrival and remains at large.

The 24-year-old suspect Smith shot was pronounced dead at the scene.

Smith said that their decision to break into his house forced him to “take action” that “unfortunately” resulted in him “taking one life,” KING reported.

He said he believes his use of deadly force was entirely justified.

“I have the right to carry, I have the right to protect myself and protect my property,” Smith told KING.

“We practice, but you never want to put it into action because it’s still a human life,” he continued. “But my life is more important to me than theirs is and me going home to my family and kids is more important than theirs is. I don’t know what they wanted, or what they were doing, but I don’t care.”

Smith said he and his family have no intention of moving from their home due to the break-in, KING reported.

The homeowner said the entire situation unfolded in less than a minute.

“You get to talk about it a lot with your friends, and talk about it with your family, and yeah, we all carry, and go, well this is what I would do, this is what you would do…it’s way different when it actually happens,” he told KING.

“Protect yourself. That doesn’t mean go looking for it, that means just be ready,” Smith added, according to KCPQ.

Pierce County Sheriff’s Department (PCSD) Sergeant Darren Moss noted people have the right to defend themselves, but that they should only use direct confrontation as a last resort.

“Call the police right away, if possible. If it moves to self-defense, we’ll figure it out when we get there for the investigation,” Sgt. Moss told KING. “But we always say, call 911 right away, focus on protecting yourself and your family, don’t try to initiate a confrontation with an intruder.”

The PCSD’s investigative findings will be forwarded to the prosecutor’s office for review once they are complete.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin


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