BONNEY LAKE, Wash. – Two Pierce County homeowners pulled guns on people trying to break into their homes Thursday morning.
Bonney Lake Police said a man was napping at his home in the 8000 block of 205th Avenue East when he heard someone ringing the doorbell. He ignored it, but then heard the person kicking the door.
The owner grabbed a shotgun and confronted the intruder. The suspect then fled in a pickup truck, but not before the homeowner fired a shot. Police say there was no indication the car or the intruder was hit.
Police said they are searching for the suspect and trying to determine if the homeowner will face any charges.
"The whole idea of owning a firearm is to protect yourself," said Officer Todd Green of Bonney Lake Police. "When you start to put the public at risk is where we get concerned."
The suspect is described as white, about 5-feet 8-inches tall in his 30's with a buzz haircut and a "boxey" build. He was wearing a black leather jacket and gray gloves. The pickup was a blue, older model Ford with a black ladder rack and side step rails. There was a generator and a pink bicycle in the bed of the truck.
In another home invasion in Gig Harbor, two young men rang the doorbell of a home in the 3200 block of 19th Avenue NW. The woman living there, Angela Tallman, an Army veteran, was home sick and did not answer the door.
When she heard someone hiding in the bushes she said she grabbed her gun. She then saw the suspects trying to open the sliding glass door.
"I tapped on the kitchen window with my revolver," she said. "I waved at them with the revolver, made sure I got both of the attention, made sure I showed them it was loaded and waved it at them, pointed it at them and they both stopped and bolted."
The intruders are described as white, in their late teens to early 20s and wearing dark, baggy clothing.
Also on Thursday in Federal Way, a man said he came home to find a burglar. The homeowner armed himself and chased the burglar into a nearby lake. The burglar had to be rescued and was eventually arrested.
Pierce County prosecutor Mark Lindquist said citizens have some leeway in using deadly force to protect themselves or their property in their homes.
"Prosecutors are going to look at things like degree of danger, where the shooting takes place, and who the players are," said Lindquist. "I can tell you this though: In Washington, we are a 'no duty to retreat' state, so you have a right to stand your ground."
But shooting a fleeing suspect who no longer poses a threat could get you in trouble, Lindquist said.
Thursday's incidents are the latest in a recent string of cases in which homeowners have used guns to defend their property.
A retired Puyallup police officer shot and killed a man who was attempting to break into his home Wednesday afternoon.
Last Friday, a North Bend homeowner shot and killed a man who broke into the bedroom where the homeowner and his girlfriend were hiding.