A Florida sheriff praised an armed citizen this week for shooting at a home intruder and suggested that the homeowner should take a gun safety class to “save the taxpayers money.”
The homeowner did not hit the intruder, who was arrested later that day.
“I guess they think they did something wrong, which they did not. If someone’s breaking into your house, you’re more than welcome to shoot them in Santa Rosa County. We prefer that you do, actually. So, whoever that was, you’re not in trouble, come see us. We have a gun safety class we put on every other Saturday,” said Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson during a press conference.
“If you take that, you’ll shoot a lot better, and hopefully you’ll save the taxpayers money,” Johnson concluded.
Brandon J. Harris, 32, was arrested after allegedly breaking into multiple homes in Pace, Florida, Johnson said. About 20 deputies were chasing him through a neighborhood, but when he entered one of the homes, the homeowner fired at him. He continued to run until deputies cornered him in a bedroom in a different house and arrested him.
Harris had been a “frequent flyer,” Johnson said. Harris was first encountered by law enforcement when he was 13 years old, and he spent over six years in prison for home invasion after being arrested 17 times.
He was charged in this latest incident with one count of attempted burglary with assault, one count of resisting arrest without violence, two counts of burglary to an occupied dwelling, one count of criminal mischief, one count of attempted larceny, and one count of burglary to an unoccupied dwelling.
“Some people don’t learn,” Johnson said of Harris. “For us, this is job security. We deal with him all the time. Hopefully this time he’ll go, and he won’t get out.”
Johnson explained that during this incident, Harris chased a woman into her house while her kids were inside. She closed the door and locked it just before he reached it and started trying to get inside.
“He doesn’t care about anybody but himself,” Johnson explained. “Hopefully he goes to prison for the rest of his life this time.”
The sheriff’s department could not identify the homeowner who fired the shots. Johnson believes the homeowner used a handgun, and he knows multiple shots were fired, but he couldn’t offer any additional details.
“If somebody’s breaking into your house, you’ve got all the right in the world to defend yourself,” Johnson said. “Of course, [Harris] didn’t get hit, and now we have to pay for him.”