Hammond, LA – A convicted armed robber out on parole was fatally shot by a mother-of-two after he broke into her home early Sunday morning.
Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Jimmy Travis said the harrowing encounter occurred at a home on Klein Road at approximately 5 a.m. on Jan. 8.
Investigators responded to the residence for a report of “shots fired,” and arrived to find 51-year-old convicted armed robber Robert Rheams suffering from at least one gunshot wound, Sheriff Travis said in a press release.
Rheams was pronounced dead at the scene.
Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office (TPSO) deputies determined Rheams showed up at the house armed with a lug wrench and a shovel and that he was able to force his way into the residence of a woman who had her two young children inside.
“During the incident, a physical altercation took place between Rheams and the homeowner which ultimately led to Rheams being shot by the homeowner,” Sheriff Travis said. “This case appears to be a homeowner exercising Second Amendment rights to protect herself and her children from a violent home invasion.”
The sheriff told WDSU that citizens have the right to defend themselves against an attack.
“We don’t know what this guy had in mind,” he added. “Was he going there strictly for a robbery motive? Was he going there to maybe take someone’s life? We don’t know. She didn’t know. Being in fear for her life, she took necessary actions to protect herself and her children.”
The victim and her children were not injured during the incident, WDSU reported.
Sheriff Travis said no arrests have been made and that the case will be reviewed by the district attorney’s office.
He further noted that detectives believe Rheams was involved in a carjacking earlier the same night.
Rheams was out on parole at the time of the break in, having served approximately 20 years behind bars on an armed robbery charge.
He had been sentenced to 40 years, according to WDSU.