A sheriff's vehicle passes in front of the home of a Georgia mother of two who authorities say shot an intruder multiple times before escaping with her children.(Photo: David Goldman. AP)
LOGANVILLE, Ga.-- A Georgia mother who shot an intruder at her
home has become a small part of the roaring gun control debate, with
some firearms enthusiasts touting her as a textbook example of
responsible gun ownership.
Melinda Herman grabbed a handgun and
hid in a crawl space with her two children when a man broke in last week
and approached the family at their home northeast of Atlanta, police
said. Herman called her husband on the phone, and with him reminding her
of the lessons she recently learned at a shooting range, Herman opened
fire, seriously wounding the burglary suspect.
MORE: Husband heard telling wife to shoot burglar on 911 call
The National Rifle
Association tweeted a link to a news story about the shooting, and
support poured in from others online, hailing Herman as a hero. The
local sheriff said he was proud of the way she handled the situation.
lady decided that she wasn't going to be a victim, and I think everyone
else looks at this and hopes they have the courage to do what she
done," Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman said Wednesday.
was working from home Friday when she saw a man walk up to the front
door. She told police he rang the doorbell twice and then over and over
again. He went back to his SUV, got something out and walked back toward
the house, a police report said.
Herman took her 9-year-old son
and daughter into an upstairs bedroom and locked the door. They went
into bathroom and she locked that door, too. She got her handgun from a
safe, the report said, and hid with her children. At some point, she
called her husband, who kept her on the line and called 911 on another
In a 10-minute 911 recording released by the Walton County
Sheriff's Office, Donnie Herman calmly explained what was happening to a
dispatcher. His part of the conversation with his wife was also
"Is he in the house, Melinda? Are you sure? How do you know? You can hear him in the house?" Donnie Herman said.
His wife told him the intruder was coming closer.
in the bedroom? Shh, shh, relax. Just remember everything that I showed
you, everything that I taught you, all right?" Donnie Herman told his
wife, explaining later to the dispatcher that he had recently taken her
to a gun range.
It wasn't clear from the recording exactly when
they went to range and Donnie Herman told the Associated Press on
Wednesday the family didn't want to talk about the shooting.
Donnie Herman told his wife police were on the way, he started
shouting: "She shot him. She's shootin' him. She's shootin' him. She's
shootin' him. She's shootin' him."
"OK," the dispatcher responded.
him again! Shoot him!" Donnie Herman yelled. He told the dispatcher he
heard a lot of screaming, but he seems to get increasingly worried when
he doesn't hear anything from his wife.
Melinda Herman told police
she started shooting the man when he opened the door to the crawl
space. The man pleaded with her to stop, but she kept firing until she
had emptied her rounds, she told police. She then fled to a neighbor's
house with her children.
The man drove away in his SUV. Police
found the SUV on another subdivision street and discovered a man
bleeding from his face and body in a nearby wooded area. Police
identified the suspect as 32-year-old Paul Slater of Atlanta.
said the hospital asked him not to comment on Slater's condition, but
he said he is not certain Slater will survive. Authorities have a
warrant but haven't formally arrested Slater yet. They plan to charge
him with burglary, possession of tools for the commission of a crime and
aggravated assault, Walton County sheriff's Capt. Greg Hall said.
A phone number for Slater was not listed and it was not clear whether he has an attorney.
Authorities believe Slater targeted a home in another local subdivision but left when confronted by the homeowner, Chapman said.