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82-year-old Vietnam vet beats armed intruder to death: 'That guy picked the wrong house'



Photo by Darren Holden/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images

An 82-year-old Vietnam veteran defended himself, his wife, and his property after an armed intruder entered his home over the weekend, killing the intruder by bludgeoning him to death.

What are the details?

According to a report from Newsweek, 82-year-old Herbert Parrish and his wife, 79-year-old Lois Parrish, were inside their South Carolina home Sunday when they heard an unexpected knock on the door.

When Lois opened the door, she saw a man — later identified as 61-year-old Harold Runnels — who said he was looking for his dog.

"I opened the door and he said he was looking for his little white chihuahua and wanted to know if I saw it," she recalled. "I told him no, I hadn't."

At that point, Runnels reportedly forced his way into the home, brandished a knife, and slashed Lois' forehead.

During the melee, Herbert grabbed a shotgun hanging on a nearby wall and repeatedly struck Runnels with the barrel of the weapon until he fell unconscious.

Parrish — who said he pummeled Runnels at least 10 times in the face — said, "I felt, we're gone. He's going to kill us and take what he can take. He was not going to go out the door and leave us alive. That's the way I felt. That's why I said 'I've got to do something quick and get the edge on him. Get the advantage on him.'"

Parrish said that he hit Runnels "just as hard as I could hit him."

When authorities arrived on the scene, Runnels was unresponsive on the floor. He was taken to a nearby medical center where he died of his injuries, according to Fox News.

What did the sheriff's office say?

In a statement, Aiken County Sheriff's Office Capt. Eric Abdullah confirmed that Parrish "was able to strike Mr. Runnels enough to the point where he fell to the floor still being conscious but unresponsive."

Neighbor Jessica Clark said that Runnels made a grave error in choosing the Parrish home.

"This street is normally not that crazy or anything, and we all know each other and everything," Clark recalled. "I never would have expected it to happen here. And so I kinda feel like it puts a stain on this neighborhood in a way."

Clark added, "[W]hen I heard they were able to fend off the suspect, I was so proud of them, and I was like, 'OK, so that guy picked the wrong house.'"

Abdullah added, "[F]olks have the right to defend themselves if their lives are in danger, but the best thing to do is call for help. Every situation is going to be different. It may be a similar crime in nature, but every situation is going to be different. There's no way to accurately predict exactly what actions that any person should take if somebody is trying to invade their home. The best recourse is to think smartly and get help on the way."

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