BUCKLEY, Wash. A Pierce County man says he was defending himself when he shot and killed a man who broke into his home late Monday night.

The incident took place around 11 p.m. in the 25000 block of 164th Street East on the outskirts of Buckley. Detectives believe the suspect broke through the front gate with his car, crashed into another car, and broke into the home of an elderly couple in their 60s.

The homeowner s wife said she locked herself in her bedroom after the intruder forced his way into their home.

I thought we were dead, said the woman, who did not want her name published.

The man crashed through the front gate of their home. She said he smashed out the windows on their front door, barged inside and started beating her husband.

He asked what he wanted, said the woman, who described the man as having a crazed look.

He never spoke, she said.

The medical examiner identified the alleged intruder as 21-year-old Cole Mathews. He had no criminal record.

Relatives said Mathews would not have hurt anyone. They believe he got in a car crash and went to the home looking for help.

Detectives say the couple and the physical evidence suggest Mathews was violent and may have been on drugs. Investigators were awaiting toxicology reports to determine if Mathews was under the influence.

Meanwhile, the homeowner was taken to the hospital, where he was treated for minor injuries. His wife says he was at home recovering from the attack. She says he has survived two open heart surgeries and two back surgeries.

Detectives said the homeowner would not likely face any charges.

We are so lucky we had a gun, his wife said. I'll never feel safe in my home again.

KING 5's Teresa Yuan contributed to this report.

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