Tennessee Teen Fires Shotgun at Intruder to Protect Herself, Younger Sister

Alexis Taylor, 15, recounts the incident and explains why she confronted the stranger who was attempting to break into her home.  (Photo: WTVC)

A Tennessee teenager fired a shotgun at a would-be home invader last week to defend herself and her younger sister, local media reports.

The brave teen, identified as 15-year-old Alexis Taylor spoke to WTVC Channel 9 News about the incident.

It all started after midnight when a silver car began backing up the driveway of their home in Sweetwater.  Not expecting any visitors at that late hour, Alexis said, “Instantly, I knew something was wrong.”

The girl’s father was at work.  She called him to confirm what she had expected, that this stranger was uninvited.

Jeremy, Alexis’s father, said that he did not recognize the car nor the suspect.

“You always play the hypothetical game with your children. What if? You run through scenarios. If this happens, this is what you do. You try to plan for them for every scenario and every case but until it actually happens, you just can’t put them in that situation,” said Jeremy.

Alexis and her sister, 14-year-old Madison, eyed the man from the window as he prowled around their property.

After stealing two pressure washers that were located under the carport, the thief then headed to the front door.

“That’s what scared me because I was thinking, well, if he gets in here, what could happen to me, what could happen to my sister,” said Alexis.

SEE ALSO: Watch: Would-Be Gun Thief Shot By Elderly Victim

Her dad, who was still on the phone, advised her to grab the shotgun.

“I was confident enough to know that she knew how to use the firearm if needed,” said Jeremy.

With the shotgun in her hands, she slipped outside to confront the intruder.  He was still at the front door jiggling the handle, trying to break inside.

She believes the man must’ve noticed her coming from the side of the house as he quickly made his way back to the car.  Once he was inside the vehicle, she walked closer pointing the gun in his direction.

“During that time my instinct was just telling me, I can’t let him leave with what he had of ours,” she said.

Alexis told reporters she fired the gun at the man’s car after “he started the ignition and took off.” She believes to have hit the car.

The man fled the scene into the night, making off with those pressure washers.  Investigators are still looking for the driver, the car, and the stolen property. But in the meantime, police complimented Alexis for her bravery.

“I guess I’m a little old-fashioned and I respect the rights of my citizens to defend themselves and defend their property,” said McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy.

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 42 comments… add one }
  • Ryan August 24, 2018, 3:45 pm

    In Tennessee deadly force is not permitted to protect property. You also can not shoot at a fleeing suspect if they don’t present any harm to you or the general public. However I commend her on being smart enough to call dad to make sure no one was expected at the home and for getting a shotgun to protect herself as well as her sister.

  • Richard July 7, 2018, 11:11 am

    I believe the girl,watching the car backing up the driveway, from the window, knew exactly what to do.
    She could have shot him, running to car, but she opt not to. Probably because he did not threaten her
    life. But i do agree, she should have not shot the car.
    But one thing for sure, the suspect is not going to report to the Police, that he was shot at, for steeling
    a pressure washer.
    He will think that one through, before he does that one again.
    And good job for the police, not to get carried away, with technicality.

  • Brian July 7, 2018, 9:07 am

    What the H##L you commend her? First a locked door is the second best line of defense she should have never have left the house. What if he got the jump on her or someone else was with him. Second two pressures washers is not worth someones life. Third and this is a big one, when you take someones life the second you do it, your life changes. You have to live with the fact that you killed a human being. Going outside and shooting at his car was even more dummer. I do not know where her neighbors live or what was in the shotgun but bullets don\’t have eyes and you can\’t call them back. First arm yourself and then call 911 finally barricade yourself somewhere where you have room for the shotgun to move and you have a good shot at the door. Racking a shotgun is stupid unless the chamber is empty. If he tries to get in scream I\’m armed and on line with the police if you can put the police on speaker let them yell it too. If he keeps trying and you believe that the door is not holding then do what you have to . Maybe buckshot going through the door will show him your serious and stop him from trying anymore. As for the police who commended her they should be fired. This story is one for the anti gunners. I have been carrying for 33 years and pulled once and two people went to jail, knifes vs gun that was after giving my money and wallet they wanted more and had no choice to do what I had to do. I\’m so glad I did not have to shoot them. A shotgun is not the best home protection. If you use it in your home you will live with it even more. I had a customer kill himself in a boat and a professional crime seen cleaning crew could not get all of him out of the boat never mind a house where all of his fluids will leak into walls and floors. I\’m glad she is ok and not living with the fact that she killed someone.

  • Brian July 7, 2018, 9:01 am

    What the H##L you commend her? First a locked door is the second best line of defense she should have never have left the house. What if he got the jump on her or someone else was with him. Second two pressures washers is not worth someones life. Third and this is a big one, when you take someones life the second you do it, your life changes. You have to live with the fact that you killed a human being. Going outside and shooting at his car was even more dummer. I do not know where her neighbors live or what was in the shotgun but bullets don’t have eyes and you can’t call them back. First arm yourself and then call 911 finally barricade yourself somewhere where you have room for the shotgun to move and you have a good shot at the door. Racking a shotgun is stupid unless the chamber is empty. If he tries to get in scream I’m armed and on line with the police if you can put the police on speaker let them yell it too. If he keeps trying and you believe that the door is not holding then do what you have to . Maybe buckshot going through the door will show him your serious and stop him from trying anymore. As for the police who commended her they should be fired. This story is one for the anti gunners. I have been carrying for 33 years and pulled once and two people went to jail, knifes vs gun that was after giving my money and wallet they wanted more and had no choice to do what I had to do. I’m so glad I did not have to shoot them. A shotgun is not the best home protection. If you use it in your home you will live with it even more. I had a customer kill himself in a boat and a professional crime seen cleaning crew could not get all of him out of the boat never mind a house where all of his fluids will leak into walls and floors. I’m glad she is ok and not living with the fact that she killed someone.

    • William Crenshaw July 10, 2018, 9:00 pm

      Brian,
      You don’t commend her? I do. It is time to stop running from the criminals in any shape or fashion. And it’s only a couple of pressure washers? It’s not the value of the property, it’s the principle behind defending yourself AND your property, what you worked damn hard to earn! Yes your life will forever be changed after you shoot and kill someone but it is time for all law abiding citizens to draw a line in the sand and start defending their right to feel safe on their own property.
      I am all for shooting the bastards dead on the spot if they are on my property in the middle of the night stealing and looking to do me harm. If more law abiding citizens took this stance and more criminals died, I bet there would be a lot less crimes committed.

  • Paul July 7, 2018, 8:33 am

    I commend the girl for her bravery but keep in mind (as messed up as it is) if she had shot the thief while he was leaving and he was killed or injured she would be liable and up on charges.

  • Dr Motown July 7, 2018, 8:05 am

    Looks like a Joe Biden “give them two blasts” special hanging on that wall

  • Stephen July 7, 2018, 7:45 am

    Get your shotgun
    Put your sister near you behind some type of cover
    Make sure there is a round in the chamber, and the gun off safe
    DO NOT go outside for a confrontation with the suspect!!
    DO NOT fire your shotgun at a fleeing suspect who has committed a property crime and is not presenting a threat to you/sister, if you had possibly killed him while he was fleeing things would have gone downhill quickly for you

  • Wildman July 7, 2018, 12:41 am

    Way to go young lady, put them on the run.

  • Richard Hilton July 6, 2018, 10:13 pm

    Lucky she wasn’t in Cook County Illinois or any where in Illinois for that matter she would have been thrown in jail so fast it would have been a blur. They would call it unlawful use of a weapon discharging a firearm and about 6 more BS charges. Your supposed to run and hide not defend your property here.

    • Hondo July 12, 2018, 7:34 pm

      Hey Dick stop with the FUD , it make you sound like a buffoon,

  • OldOutdoorsGuy July 6, 2018, 5:43 pm

    @ Harold
    “I thought she was in Tenn. not texas.”

    This incident took place in McMinn county, Tennessee. What gave you the impression it was in Texas??

    @Mike
    “….. called 911 and tell the operator as much information about the intruder as possible, like a full description of him, the car, license plate number etc.”

    Uh, yeah Mike, you would be that cool under pressure, I’m sure, but this is a couple of teen girls home alone after MIDNIGHT and I doubt that this young lady had the opportunity or the extremely sharp eyesight to gather all that vital information on someone who has just backed up her drive with no forewarning.

    @ Travis

    “I agree that racking the slide on the shotgun behind the door is the best thing to do in this situation.”

    You and a few others may want to watch the video again. 1:27-1:30 It showed the shotgun clearly hanging on the wall. I don’t know for sure if it was a single or double barrel from the angle of the view but I DO know for damn tooty sure that you will play HELL trying to “rack” THAT gun behind ANY door.

    @ Boyd Welsch

    “1. Call 911
    2. Get the shotgun and your sister and lock yourselves in an inside room with no windows.
    3. Stay on the line with the 911 operator
    4. When the police arrive and have secured the outside leave the shotgun an let them in to search your house
    5. If anyone comes to the door of your room before the above happens announce loudly that you are armed and talking to the police. Take whatever you want but if you enter the room you will be shot.
    6. Hopefully there is no 6”

    Actually, the only “step” on your checklist that makes sense to me is the first one and, given the choice in the same situation, I probably would have done the same thing she did and call the one man who I totally TRUST over some strange “operator voice” on the other end of the phone telling me to “calm down” or “hide in a closet” or some such nonsense. BTW, which room in YOUR house could you go to that is windowless and you could safely lock yourself into??

    OK, here come the police, sirens blaring, the house is “secure” outside, so now it is “safe” to lay down your only means of personal defense and unlock your “windowless locked interior room”??? ….. and walk out into??? ….. what if the intruder is already in the house??? Finally, #5 and 6 don’t even rate a reply in my opinion …..

    @ pjw

    “….. However it’s probably not the best strategy to leave a secure location to pursue a bad guy, simply too many unknowns. McMinn County, Texas you have a keeper in your Sheriff Guy …..”

    That scenario you cite, leaving a secure location to pursue a bad guy, happens often on the battle field. One of two things will generally happen, that person becomes a hero or he/she becomes ….. dead. Either way, they are heros in my mind.

    And, finally, for all of you geography buffs, it’s McMinn County, TENNESSEE, NOT TEXAS!!

    WATCH THE VIDEO AGAIN …… TWICE MORE, maybe ……

    1:07-1:09 TN truck plates, 2:32-2:37 McMinn TN sheriff’s seal in background during the sheriff interview, 2:59-3:03 final thoughts of the news broadcaster …….

  • Harold July 6, 2018, 1:25 pm

    I thought she was in Tenn. not texas.

  • Jerry Murphy July 6, 2018, 1:06 pm

    The Second Amendment is all about DEFENSE of LIFE and LIMB; NOT RETALIATION for LOSS of PROPERTY. That said: I commend the young lady for her alertness and willingness to take action. When time is of the essence Lawful Protection is minutes away in most cases. We are duty-bound, as parents, to instruct our children in actions to take; WHEN THINGS GO WRONG. Taking note of the perpetrator’s description and of the licence plate number would have been in the best interest of all concerned..

  • egm July 6, 2018, 1:05 pm

    In Commiefornia we have stand your ground and castle doctrine, but ironically anyone that would have done what she did would be prosecuted. You can never go out and confront an attacker, especially if it involves stealing your property. I almost had to fire my shotgun at a would be intruder who was already behind my home and about to break in with his thick green gloves. I had seen all three run up my driveway while on the phone with a deputy. But he knew I grabbed my shotgun and never dissuaded me from doing so. Later I found out that there were four guys and they all took off quickly when the one in the backyard saw my shotgun pointed at the doors. No shots fired and nothing damaged. It ended like 92% of self-defense encounters with guns usually end.

  • Jimbo July 6, 2018, 12:56 pm

    Lame, Lame Lame, my kids would have had him Hog-Tied at gunpoint when police arrived… If this is having your kids prepared than #$(#&#^%@&^%&^$%#*

  • michael July 6, 2018, 12:39 pm

    I applaud her for her bravery………however, never leave a locked secure house to confront a bad guy….this situation turned out fine, but I would have stayed behind locked doors. Anytime you advance on a bad guy by following him, you become the aggressor, and in many states, you could be charged with a felony, for attacking a trespasser, all he did was trespass and steal a couple items. In my state, she would be in jail right now

  • Billy July 6, 2018, 12:02 pm

    This is really simple. Come into my house uninvited, I’ll introduce you to your maker. On my property with my belongings in your possession, I’ll introduce you to your maker. In other words, don’t take what doesn’t belong to you and do not enter someone else’s property uninvited and you may live a long life.

  • Mike July 6, 2018, 11:57 am

    Personally I would have got the shotgun first, then called 911 and tell the operator as much information about the intruder as possible, like a full description of him, the car, license plate number etc. Then just wait on the line with your loaded gun. If he steps one foot inside, blast him! But by her going outside that POS could of had a gun, and could of shot her. And over what….maybe couple of hundred dollars worth of used stuff?

  • Tim Allen July 6, 2018, 10:08 am

    Unfortunately, in NC, she would have been charged with a crime. One cannot fire a weapon to regain or protect against stolen property. It is lawful to shoot if someone breaches your home or vehicle if occupied. In that case, it is presumed that serious bodily harm to the occupant(s) is intended. Currently in NC, there is no duty to retreat. This is not legal advice and I am not an attorney.

  • Merlin July 6, 2018, 9:31 am

    You GO, Girl! America is proud of you!

  • Jon July 6, 2018, 9:30 am

    Can’t rack my double barrel, but it can’t jam either. Jon

  • Jon July 6, 2018, 9:28 am

    She only fired at the car to help the police identify it, not to injure the fleeing suspect. Jon

  • Phil Whitehead July 6, 2018, 9:14 am

    I believe she was taught that. Otherwise, why shoot the car instead of through the window?
    Both were options…

  • Travis July 6, 2018, 8:57 am

    I agree that racking the slide on the shotgun behind the door is the best thing to do in this situation. She bravely went outside to take her younger sister out of harms way. The problem with this is that if she killed burglar she could have been charged with murder. The penalty for theft is not death. You can’t kill somebody for stealing your stuff. You might want to, but you just can’t. If you stay in your house, you can kill them.

  • Jeff Schmitz July 6, 2018, 8:50 am

    sweat and simple. The rights of the American people. Nothing more needs to be said. Lucky for the family they did not live among the “jackass” law enforcement side of the community. Liberal, commie, enforcers.Anybody who approaches anybody’s home up to no good, need to fear for their lives.

  • joefoam July 6, 2018, 8:44 am

    Add another one to the 2.5mm times a year a bad guy is stopped with a gun.

  • iceman_us July 6, 2018, 8:39 am

    Good job young lady and you too Dad for your coaching and pro-active attitude. There is just one detail I disagree with, specifically, discharging your weapon at a fleeing vehicle. The law is very specific in that the use of deadly force is never justified against a fleeing threat. Had you aim been more accurate and you hit wounded or killed the intruder under these circumstances, you could have been charged with aggravated assault at the least. I know it all sounds so unfair, and in the heat of the moment, it’s hard to remember all the details, but, along with knowing how to use a firearm, knowledge of the law and the consequences of your actions is/are equally important.

    Other than that, once again good job and I hope the police find the intruder and you and your family get your property back.

  • Boyd Welsch July 6, 2018, 8:25 am

    1. Call 911
    2. Get the shotgun and your sister and lock yourselves in an inside room with no windows.
    3. Stay on the line with the 911 operator
    4. When the police arrive and have secured the outside leave the shotgun an let them in to search your house
    5. If anyone comes to the door of your room before the above happens announce loudly that you are armed and talking to the police. Take whatever you want but if you enter the room you will be shot.
    6. Hopefully there is no 6

    • Sheepdog July 6, 2018, 11:18 am

      Good advice except for the comment, “Take whatever you want but if you enter the room you will be shot”.
      What is the point of saying “take whatever you want”?

  • John Doe July 6, 2018, 8:23 am

    Brave girl! I’m not going to second guess her at age 15, but he shoulda been shot before he got in his car. I think she was still within the law, but the law got a little fuzzier once he got in his car to leave.

    Good job, young lady!

  • BR549 July 6, 2018, 8:10 am

    I’ll bet Bloomberg’s people would have railed against her for shooting at the car while the thief was making an attempt to flee, and then, worse yet, going after the father for leaving his babies in the house with loaded weapons around. That’s the mind of a Leftie.

    • Johnny Raygun July 6, 2018, 9:05 am

      “l’lI bet” Really? Losing money is not a good bet.

  • Jay July 6, 2018, 8:09 am

    Nice job if being a parent and raising a real woman! Please stay inside though folks, she left her sister alone to pursue someone with two pressure washers and possible walk into more than one criminal! Weigh the possibles before acting, life is far more precious than property!

  • srsquidizen July 6, 2018, 7:44 am

    She did good. Even in a 2A-friendly “defense of property” state you are not fully protected, so it’s better to make them pay with a shot-dinged car than blow a hole in their guts point-blank (unless they enter the house–that’s different). The victimized family could have still been sued for everything they’ve got by the scumbags’ family. There are “predattorney” lawyers who specialize in suing police and citizens who defend themselves, so it needs to be life-and-death or it just ain’t worth the hassle.

  • Mr Evilwrench July 6, 2018, 4:21 am

    I would have told her to stay inside; she and her sister are a lot more precious than a couple of pressure washers. Daddy has nothing to worry about this little girl going to prom 🙂 I tell you what, a girl that has her stuff together enough to solve her own problems is teh hawtness to me. This one needs to be about twice as old, though…

  • Chick July 6, 2018, 3:34 am

    Should have called the Sheriff, then her dad. I would not have waited so long, but she is 15. When I was 15, I chased 2 guys trying to steal my boat, for a 1/2 mile before I cornered them, and held them at bay, until my dad got there.

  • pjw July 6, 2018, 3:30 am

    Congratulations to a well composed articulate intelligent young woman.Also good training by
    her for defending her sister and home. However it’s probably not the best strategy to leave a secure
    location to pursue a bad guy, simply too many unknowns. McMinn County, Texas you have a keeper
    in your Sheriff Guy, you would do well to keep electing him.

  • norm July 6, 2018, 2:43 am

    He’s a good dad to make sure his girls are safe and trained in how to handle such situations.

  • Frederick Hyder July 3, 2018, 5:38 am

    Those girls need two good AR-15’s for defense.

    • Bernie Crumb July 6, 2018, 6:12 am

      I respectfully disagree. A plain and simple shotgun has a lot less moving parts for a young person, or even an older person who doesn’t/can’t practice. Yes the Sheriff is respectful of those citizens’ rights to protect life and property. Maybe the girls saw more than was articulated in the article and knew there was only one perpetrator. Otherwise I agree with the comment of staying inside your home. Racking the slide from just behind a door is very effective too, and reduces exposure to multiple attackers. Way to take care of your sisters. Good job Dad. Prep time was time well spent.

  • Tom July 2, 2018, 5:51 pm

    ATTA GIRL Give them both barrels!

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