Florida Homeowner Fights Off Five Intruders, Kills One

All four remaining suspects were eventually caught in the ensuing manhunt. (Photo: St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office)

A homeowner in a rural neighborhood outside of St. Augustine, Fl., earlier this month fought off five intruders with a handgun, killing 24-year-old Paul Pettigrew and forcing the remaining four to flee as police arrived.

All four suspects are currently in custody, and they’ve been charged with felony murder and attempted robbery.

It’s still unclear why the five were in the home at 2:00 a.m., but St. Johns County Undersheriff Matthew Cline said at a press conference their motives appear to be drug-related.

“Whether their presence was known by the residents on Cowan Road as being consensual or as a robbery, we’re not quite sure yet. Everyone is being interviewed as we speak. Obviously, things didn’t go very well. There were shots fired and an individual… is deceased on scene,” Cline said.

SEE ALSO: Homeowner Who Captured Escaped Georgia Inmates: ‘I loaded up every weapon I could’

Law enforcement arrested two of the four suspects shortly after the incident but engaged in an extensive manhunt for the remaining two, who fled into the nearby woods.

“We had deputies that have suffered heat exhaustion. We’ve got deputies that are being treated at Flagler Hospital, as we speak,” Cline said.

In the end, a tip from a citizen led to the arrest of the remaining individuals.

“The fact that someone had the courage to see something and say something and pick up the phone, make the call to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, we were able to end this thing,” Cline said.

The suspects range from 18-21 years of age, and police identified them as Christopher Pettigrew (who is the brother of the deceased), Zared Matthews, Jeffrey Balcom and Xavier Williams.

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

Cline also noted that the homeowner has been cooperating with the investigation, and St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office Commander Chuck Mulligan told local media that the person has not been charged with a crime.

The four intruders have been charged under a Florida statute that allows a person to be charged with murder if a death occurs during the commission of certain “enumerated offenses.” These include a murder of another person, robbery, burglary, kidnapping, aggravated child abuse, home-invasion robbery and several other crimes.

Chief Assistant State Attorney Jason Lewis, with the 7th Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office, explained to local media that the statue is intended to punish individuals who participate in crimes in which there is a likelihood that someone could be killed.

St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate this incident and did not respond to a request for comment.

UPDATE: 

“They were not inside the home, they were attempting to get inside the home to commit an alleged drug-related home invasion robbery,” said Charles E. Mulligan, a spokesperson for the St. Johns Sheriff’s Office in an email to GunsAmerica.

“The homeowner has not been charged,” he added.

***Buy and Sell on GunsAmerica! All Local Sales are FREE!***

About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over four years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Waco. Follow him on Instagram @bornforgoodluck and email him at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • LowKey September 28, 2018, 11:31 pm

    @ Scott-
    No, the felony murder charges does make sense.
    While the article did a poor job of explaining it, the purpose is to properly lay the blame of any deaths that were due to the commission of a felony, even if unintended, at the feet of the person who committed said felony. The felon is the person who set off the chain of events leading to a death that would otherwise have not occurred, thus bears the responsibility.
    A hypothetical example would be a hostage in a bank robbery having a heart attack due to the stress.These 5 idiots initiated a home invasion, they bear the responsibility for all the consequences.

  • Scott September 28, 2018, 6:20 pm

    “All four suspects are currently in custody, and they’ve been charged with felony murder and attempted robbery.”

    __________________

    It makes no sense to charge the criminals with the murder of their fellow criminal.

    A) the deceased was there of his own volition, participating in the crime

    B) his own gang didn’t kill him, the homeowner did

    So why would the deceased man’s partners be charged with his murder?

    Under Common Law this could not happen, because it is nonsensical; it is only under Statutes and Codes of Whimsy and Political Correctness that such idiocy takes place. The law of ‘made up’ stuff.

    .

    ……………….

    .

    “Chief Assistant State Attorney Jason Lewis, with the 7th Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office, explained to local media that the statue is intended to punish individuals who participate in crimes in which there is a likelihood that someone could be killed.”

    __________________

    Translation: he had to explain it, because it sounded idiotic to everyone there, even the idiot reporters.

    And his explanation is an exercise in illogic.

    Look at it:

    “…the statue is intended to punish individuals who participate in crimes in which there is a likelihood that someone could be killed.”

    First, I’m guessing it’s a ‘statute’ and not a statue. I wouldn’t expect a modern day ‘reporter’ to know the difference.

    Second, if it is intended to do ANYTHING at all, it is intended to DETER people from engaging in crimes where there is a likelihood that someone could be killed.

    PUNISHING people for MURDER for engaging in crimes where there is a likelihood that someone could be killed is insane. You could get killed by jaywalking. You don’t PUNISH someone by charging them with MURDER for jaywalking.

    I realize they want to put bad guys away for as long as possible, and this is just another tool to do it.

    But the logic behind it is as poorly conceived as the statute itself.

    We don’t need crazy laws dreamed up by people who refuse to enforce the laws we already have, and which have worked just fine for hundreds of years.

    What we need is to enforce the laws we already have.

    Eliminate political correctness, and enforce the Law.

  • Marcelino September 28, 2018, 9:25 am

    Ok, I feel unformed. What is an Undersheriff? Is that between a Deputy and a full Sheriff?

    • Rangemaster11B September 28, 2018, 12:21 pm

      Old joke about going to the men’s room to shake hands with the undersheriff.

    • Gary MacNeill October 2, 2018, 6:16 pm

      It depends on where you are. Some places it’s the second in command right below the sheriff. Some places it’s the local jail warden. Some places if the jurisdiction is large enough it is broken up with several undersheriffs overseeing different sections and reporting to the county sheriff

  • LAMan September 28, 2018, 6:35 am

    Sounds like a blue-on-blue between druggies, so I had to tone down my initial enthusiasm. Nonetheless, “some folks need killin’ ” and the scorekeepers can line through yet another name on the list. One’s better than none.

Leave a Comment

Send this to a friend