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83-year-old homeowner hears intruder coming up stairs. So he reaches for 'friend under the pillow.

After an 83-year-old Maryland homeowner heard an intruder coming up the stairs toward his bedroom, he reached for "a friend under the pillow" — and didn't hesitate to use it. (Image source: WJLA-TV video screenshot)

Joseph Parker Sr., 83, heard rustling and crashing sounds in his Mitchellville, Maryland, home just after midnight Wednesday and came to a chilling truth.

“I realized, ‘I’m not alone in this house,’” Parker told WJLA-TV.

Image source: WJLA-TV video screenshot

Police told the station an intruder had broken through the basement window and then made his way up the stairs. Parker added to WJLA that he heard doors being slammed open.

At that point, the homeowner checked for “a friend under the pillow" and waited inside his bedroom, the station reported.

Parker recalled to WJLA: “I said, ‘If he exits the house without coming into this room, I’m gonna give him a pass. But if he comes into this room, I’m not going to give him a pass.’”

No such luck. The intruder opened Parker's bedroom door.

He was dressed in all black, the station said, and his face was covered except for his eyes. And Parker began firing his handgun.

Image source: WJLA-TV video screenshot

Parker told WJLA he doesn’t remember how many times he pulled the trigger, but police told him they found three bullet casings.

“I didn’t want a murder on my hands. I didn’t want to kill anybody," he added to the station. "But I didn’t want to be killed."

The shot intruder ran back down the basement stairs, WJLA reported, and Parker followed. But by the time Parker reached the door, the station said the intruder was gone.

What did the homeowner's relatives have to say?

  • Morris Parker, the homeowner's younger brother, told the station he raced over as soon as he got word of the break-in.
  • “I really think, to me, that was heroic," Morris Parker told WJLA. "For him at his age, to be able to respond."

Image source: WJLA-TV video screenshot

  • Joseph Parker Jr., the homeowner's son, told the station he’s sorry someone got hurt but “in order to protect himself and defend his home, he did what he had to do.”

What happened to the intruder?

  • The shot suspect was found at 1:40 a.m. following a 911 call about someone knocking at a door claiming to be injured, WJLA said, adding that the man remains in critical condition after being shot twice in the upper body.

Image source: WJLA-TV video screenshot

  • Police added to the station that they’ve obtained a warrant for the suspect’s arrest on first-degree burglary charges.

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