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'I have a right to protect myself': Spanaway homeowner shoots, kills suspected burglar

The Pierce County Sheriff's Department said no arrests have been made following the shooting.

SPANAWAY, Wash. — A Spanaway homeowner is still reeling after shooting and killing a suspected burglar on his property Thursday morning.

Jerahme Smith said two men broke into his home around 4:20 a.m.

Deputies responded to reports of a shooting on the 100 block of 165th Street East Thursday morning. Deputies found a 24-year-old man unresponsive at the scene. He was declared dead by first responders.

“I took action upon that, which was, unfortunately, taking one life, and the other one ran,” Smith recalled.

Deputies searched the area for the second break-in suspect but could not locate him. He is currently still at large.

Pierce County Sheriff's Department spokesperson Sergeant Darren Moss said detectives will finish their investigation and forward their findings to the prosecutor's office for review.

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Smith said the incident may have lasted for less than a minute, but that’s all the time you may have in these kinds of situations.

“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,” said Smith.

Moss said that while you are allowed to defend yourself, a direct confrontation should be avoided if possible and should only be seen as a last resort.

“Call the police right away, if possible,” advised Moss. “If it moves to self-defense, we’ll figure it out when we get there for the investigation. 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.”

Meanwhile, as Smith tries to move on, he said although it’s unfortunate a life was taken, he feels that he was justified.

“I have the right to carry, I have the right to protect myself and protect my property,” said Smith. “We practice, but you never want to put it into action because it’s still a human life. 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 also said that despite what happened, he has no plans on moving. He said he’s not going to be scared away just from this one situation.

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