Alabama Homeowner: ‘I’ve got a gun.’ Burglar: ‘I’ve got one too’

The burglar used a ladder to climb up.  He then cut through the screen and entered the residence. (Photo: WHNT)

An Alabama man recounted his harrowing confrontation with a would-be burglar that ended in an exchange of gunfire early Tuesday.

Joseph Lyles of Colbert County said he was face to face with an armed home invader and left with no choice but to use his firearm to defend himself.

“I was just awoken and could see a person standing in my doorway. (Gasp) Who are you? I’ve got a gun! He says well I’ve got one too,” Lyles recalled in an interview with WHNT. “Well when I heard him say that I just started shooting.”

Lyles fired a total of eight times, according to Colbert County Sheriff Frank Williamson. He hit the suspect at least three times, once in the chin, the shoulder and the chest.

Meanwhile, the suspect fired at Lyles as the homeowner stumbled back into his bedroom.

Lyles said, following the incident, “I’m lucky to be here.” (Photo: WHNT)

“I’m lucky to be here,” stated Lyles. “He shot four times. I found one in the door casing, but I haven’t seen where the other three are yet.”

After the shooting, the burglar fled the scene. Authorities found him in a nearby field along with his 18-year-old son and a woman. Both individuals were brought in for questioning.

Police said that there were some strange calls being phoned in that night and that it’s possible that they were trying to draw police away from Lyles’ residence to clear the way for the break-in.

The investigation is still ongoing. But Williamson told WAFF that they’ll likely send the case to a grand jury where the suspect could face first-degree burglary.

As for Lyles, he’s lucky to have survived unscathed.

“I imagine I am kept here for a purpose, I got things to do – sure do,” said Lyles.

{ 32 comments… add one }
  • Forrest Ebert August 25, 2017, 7:44 am

    Everyone has their own theory but I haven’t seen one comment about a good old 12 gauge shotgun? Just point and shoot.
    Job done just s mess to clean up.

  • LHS June 9, 2017, 8:28 pm

    He hit the burglar three times?! Chin, shoulder and chest. What did he use, a pellet gun?

  • Paul Rhodes June 9, 2017, 2:22 pm

    Yeah: empty magazine/cylinder FIRST.
    When time to shoot: SHOOT……don’t talk….. : )

  • Roger June 9, 2017, 11:54 am

    If he hit him once with a .45 he would’ve gone flying backwards!
    I know. I saw it in a movie.
    More than once.

    • A.D. Roberts June 9, 2017, 12:43 pm

      Wow. And you believed it? I saw a video of a REAL shooting of an adult woman at a college. Shot with a shotgun. She just stood there for a second and then slowly walked backwards. Shock is an amazing thing.

  • Larry June 9, 2017, 10:58 am

    What kind of rounds hits the guy in the chin, chest & shoulder & does not put him down. In the CHIN!? Come on. Buy yourself something with enough firepower to get the job done!

  • Donald Butterbaugh June 9, 2017, 10:56 am

    Case in point: if he hit him three times, and he got away, then he was not using a large enough caliber. If he had of used a .45 one hit would have put him down permanent. Anything under .357 is just asking for trouble. Sure you can kill someone with a .22 if you shoot him the right place but with a .45 you don’t have to be so choosy. When you life is on the line and you only have one chance at stopping him, I recommend the .45.

    • RifleGuy June 9, 2017, 4:58 pm

      I’d recommend you take a self defense class. Or read a book on exterior ballistics.
      Perhaps both. Read some of the case evidence by gentlemen like Evan Marshall, Massad Ayoob, etc. The .45 is no cure-all for badly placed shots. Regardless of caliber, if the target is poorly hit the shot will have less than satisfactory results. A glancing shot from a .45 is no better than one from a .38, 9mm, .357 Magnum.
      Col. Jeff Cooper more than once opined that a handgun of any caliber is notoriously ineffective at stopping/killing a human target. Clint Smith, Steve Fisher, and many other noted trainers maintain that a handgun’s best use is to fight your way to a rifle.

      • Rickey Cook June 10, 2017, 12:51 pm

        Finally someone with knowledge of ballistic reactions. its funny to hear all the crap and feel man if they only knew the truth.. anyway well put.. and a .45 will do the trick everytime

    • Mas June 9, 2017, 6:50 pm

      It’s better to hit three times with a mouse gun than NO HIT with a .45.

    • David June 10, 2017, 1:29 am

      There is SO much wrong with this post. Please, read a book on forensic ballistics and real-world incidents. I’m a huge 45ACP fan, I own more pistols in that caliber than all others combined. But this nonsense about it being a magic one-shot-stopper is total ignorant BS.

      There is NO handgun round made that will “put someone down” with one shot, unless you take out the CNS. And that can be done with a .22. The problem is that’s a very small target. You can damage the heart or obliterate the top of the brain and the person can still be a deadly threat to you for 10-15 seconds or so (which is an eternity in that situation). Anywhere else, including other vital organs, and you’re talking minutes or hours before they become incapacitated.

      Some examples (gathered from, but they’ve been documented all over):

      Trooper Mark Coates engaged a suspect with FIVE rounds of 357 Magnum to the chest. The suspect returned fire with his 22LR, which entered the armpit hole of Trooper Coates vest, hit his heart and killed him. The suspect is still alive, serving his life sentence, after taking FIVE 357’s to the chest.

      Female LAPD officer Stacey Lim took a point blank .357 to the chest from a gangbanger. In Officer Lim’s own words, the .357 bullet hit her “just left center of my chest, it went through my chest and out my back, nicked my diaphragm, my liver, my intestine, shattered my spleen, put a hole in the base of my heart, and left a tennis-ball-sized hole in my back as it exited. It knocked me back into my car door.” She CHASED her attacker down and dispatched him with 4 rounds from her 9mm.

      Officer Jared Reston took a .45 to the face which shattered his jaw. He still overcame his attacker.

      Again, read any number of books and studies on the subject from experts in the field and you’ll find these notions of magic handgun bullets to be entirely fictional. Handgun ballistics simply make for very very poor manstoppers without surgically precise shot placement, which is all but impossible (short of pure luck) in the stress of a defensive shooting.

      • Oneshotstop June 10, 2017, 11:09 am

        Yes there is david.It is called a 10mm.It was developed just for that for police.1 shot from a 10mm most anywhere will leave you ” not wanting any more “.

    • Dave June 12, 2017, 8:12 pm

      Don,t believe all that malarkey about how a .45 will knock a man down with one round.I speak from experience.With hard ball ammo,I made two solid chest hits on a man who about to shoot me at a range of five feet.He not only did not go down,he survived and is alive today. Lesson to be learned?DO NOT use hard ball for defense.

  • Alan June 9, 2017, 10:10 am

    Where is the attempted murder charge or does our f’n corrupt legal system consider this to be an act of self protection because the homeowner fired first? First Degree Burglary my ass. The perp should be hung by the neck until dead.

  • Dave Hicks June 9, 2017, 9:09 am

    I happy that Mr. Lyles was un harmed and shot first. You must be ready to protect yourself, your family and home at all times.

  • James Coles June 9, 2017, 7:18 am

    I can appreciate that some people are desperate & choose stealing over working but for goodness’ sake, thieves, steal from the government or a big foreign-owned corporation … both are a lot less risky than invading a private home … In my part of Alabama virtually everyone keeps a home defense gun handy — often a tactical shotgun.
    I just hate the idea that some of y’all upstanding citizen-burglars could get hurt or killed for just trying to do your job.
    We all know that work is a four-letter word but you might want to try it as work is far less dangerous than meeting an angry, armed home owner inside his house.

    • Alan June 9, 2017, 10:11 am

      Amen to that James!

    • Jim Savage June 9, 2017, 11:18 am

      “DEAD”~is a four letter word too….”YOU CHOOSE!”

  • Rob June 9, 2017, 7:14 am

    Bottom line, if homeowner isn’t armed, criminals are unstoppable!

  • Lyle Stevens June 9, 2017, 4:59 am

    Dogs ! DOGS DOGS DOGS !!! We have a passel of our furry family members and Yes they are family and treated as such . Dogs can hear things we simply can’t 2nd I’m guessing his window was open because I never seen a word concerning glass breaking . Never ever leave windows open unless your on the 2nd floor well above ground level . I have a buddy that has been developing a security system that uses several new technoiligiac systems . It knows if a human or animal is on your property the sensors are amazing . This system uses drone tech complete zoom cameras all wireless system and fully active without power running on battery backup . The drone picks out a human calls your cell phone and transmits images and storms them both on your phone and the base system as backup . You have the option to dial 911 , he’s been working on this for 3 years . One of his earlier versions are used on government sites now . This system will be for home use and way more affordable as drones have become cheaper to build . We as a nation are expanding population of poor quickly lots of good folks loosing jobs to automation as company’s are quickly replacing human builders or even simple jobs such as checker at a grocery store . Every time you see a new robotic tool taking over today’s human control a large number of people loose their once safe job . More and more the gap between rich and poor is widening daily . As this goes on people are suffering in our good ole USA many can’t feed their family’s . A hungry homeless man that’s been tossed around after loosing a secure job to a robotic system will eventually take what’s needed to survive . Desperate people do desperate things they normally would not do . This opens up even more theft , robberies , such and so on . If your living in a stable home with a obvious income your a target for criminal acts against your personal property and god forbid the chance you to might end up with a thief standing in your door way . Unless your being attacked one must offer the now felon a way out of your home which is preferable to having to shoot someone but never attempt this without back up — your firearm . This will save you a hell of a lot of court cost attorneys so on . No matter how right you may be legally to end a life of anyone that’s in your castle without permission you will need a attorney if you shoot this criminal . That’s how it’s done and depending even on your race depends if your arrested in your own home for using your rights to end the life of a criminal in your home . Yes I said Race because I see way more people of color ending up in jail even when they were within their right to protect family and 2nd property . That being said a security system utilizing drones no one can escape images of that person being transmitted . I could images seeing the face of a burglar staring at several drones flying around them 😉🤠
    Stay safe everyone our country is falling fast in a ocean of debt from the halls of laws to your hallways of your home . This means it’s up to you to make way for better security for your home or business . Remember to many leave their firearms accessible to burgers which then use them in more crimes . If your not home lock it up ! Always keep your CC weapon with you always . 😎

  • Chick June 9, 2017, 2:55 am

    What kind of round was he firing. I don’t want it! Hit the bad guy in the chest, chin and arm, and the guy was fine?

    • Tom June 9, 2017, 8:53 am

      The question on defensive Ammo is valid. Keep in mind that the POS may have been turning to flee as he was sprayed with incoming incentive to vacate the premises pronto. Glancing wounds are not fatal even if they are the worlds best self defense rounds, unfourtunetly in this Dirt Bags case.

  • SuperG June 8, 2017, 10:32 am

    I’m glad he survived unhurt. I can’t say the came for the criminal though, as I wish he had not survived. We seem to be overstocked with criminals and need to do a massive inventory reduction. Of course with the liberals in charge, that will never happen. I wonder how many chance this criminal got beforehand? I’ll guess 8. To the homeowner, I’ll say that security camera systems have never been cheaper. Know when someone is coming before they get there!

  • Cam June 8, 2017, 8:39 am

    The burglar used a ladder to cut and enter the residence? Is that a new multi tool ladder? It’s comes with a screen cutter attachment

  • Will Drider June 7, 2017, 6:21 pm

    Luckly a good outcome. But why in the hell would you try to use a scare tactic or verbal warning of possible use of lethal force, when the BG has already gotten thru your physical security barriers and is facing you inside your home? That was stupid since it eliminated the element of suprise that the home owner was armed and further gave advantage to the BG because the GG is waiting for a response (retreat) when in fact he has provided prep time and his location to the BG! Obviously, this verbal exchange could have led the BG to fire first with different results.

    • Mike V June 9, 2017, 4:39 am

      I imagine the threat works more often than not. Most break ins don’t involve the burglar having a gun and using it, my understanding.
      Even if fully justified, most people don’t want to kill someone. He gave the guy a chance to turn back and yes it increased his chance of getting hurt.

    • Jim Savage June 9, 2017, 11:21 am

      “DEAD”~is a four letter word too….”YOU CHOOSE!”

    • Jim Savage June 9, 2017, 11:24 am

      If I told a burgler I had a gun and he replied “I do Too!”
      I would remind him that using mine was legal~Right after emptying all clips on him!”

      • Adam Jeppson June 9, 2017, 11:38 am

        “clips”? tsk tsk. Magazines Jim, magazines. You have blasphemed. That’s a time out and one demerit. Now go to your room.

      • Roger Johnson June 9, 2017, 12:08 pm

        What Adam said. Learn correct gun terminology. Now……back to your room.

        • Maura Less June 9, 2017, 2:49 pm

          Gun queers hung up on terminology instead of terminal ballistics.

      • Old Sailor June 9, 2017, 12:56 pm

        First mistake was telling the burglar he had a gun.

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