Naked, grizzled and grumpy after having been rudely awakened, Robert E. Thompson, of Lake Worth, Fla., reached for his loaded .38 caliber revolver and shuffled his way out back where his dog was growling ferociously.
The World War II veteran encountered a drunken man who couldn’t speak English; 26-year-old Jose Pasqual was trying to fend off Thompson’s Rottweiler/Doberman pinscher mix, according to the Palm Beach Post.
Thompson pointed his gun at the intruder, who had just scaled a fence into his yard.
Pasqual took a step towards the naked man. Thompson fired a warning shot. That was all he needed.
Pasqual kept his distance until Palm Beach Sheriff deputies arrived on the scene. He tried to make small talk but Thompson couldn’t understand a word he said.
However, when deputies arrived on the scene, ordering Thompson to drop his gun, it accidentally discharged, sending a tiny bullet fragment ricocheting off the pool deck into his right shin.
The man who was awarded a Purple Heart during World War II for combat in Europe was treated and released from a hospital in a few hours.
It hasn’t been a good month for intruders.
Also, two other incidents of residents defending their homes against intruders occurred in Palm Beach County.
In 2005, Gov. Jeb Bush signed what is referred to as the "Stand Your Ground" law, which states that citizens who use deadly force in self-defense are immune from criminal prosecution and civil liability.
Before the passing of the law, deadly force only applied to intruders who entered the home, and even then people had the burden of proof to show they feared for their safety.
The current law now includes the area outside of one's home, but the homeowner must "reasonably believe" that deadly force is necessary.
Some believe the law simply encourages vigilantism.