Hawkins County

86-year-old woman grabs gun in self-defense

86-year-old robbed

BULLS GAP, Tenn. - UPDATE -- The woman turned herself in on February 6. Click here to read that story.


An 86-year-old woman grabbed a gun in self-defense when police say an intruder broke into her home. News 5 sat down with this woman today and listened to her tell about the experience.

Louise Howard lives just off a busy highway in Bulls Gap.  

She told us she's been the victim of theft many times before, and she's had enough and it was time to take a stand. "I told different people if I ever catch them, I mean to kill them," said Louise Howard.

Louise Howard may be 86 years old, but she isn't afraid to defend her home or her life.

On Friday afternoon she was forced to do that. Howard said a young woman broke the glass on her door and forced her way inside. "I was in shock. I didn't know what she was going to do to me!" Howard said.

Howard immediately grabbed her gun, but the two started to struggle down the hall. "I already had my gun in my hand, and I wouldn't turn it loose for anything," she explained.

Howard's hands are proof she wasn't letting go. "She stuck a fingernail in there," said Howard. "She moved her hands, sort of released me a bit. I moved over like that, and I was going to shoot her in the stomach, but she took her knee and hit my elbow."

The bullet ended up inside the wall, where it remained after the struggle.

Sheriff Ronnie Lawson told us Howard was in her rights to use her gun for protection. "All indications [were] the intruder, the female, had a wrench. It was what she used to break the window of the door so she could've defended herself," Sheriff Lawson explained.

Howard said she is a repeat victim of crime. "I decided I would put all of my valuables in my pocketbook, and they would be with me wherever I went and nobody would get it," she said.

But she still came out with a loss. Investigators said the suspect took her purse that held two sets of keys, some rings, a bank card, and checkbook. Thankfully for her, nothing more valuable than that was taken.

"I was more scared for my cat than I was for me, because I guess I'd give my life to that cat, I love him so," said Howard.

The woman turned herself in on February 6. Click here to read that update.

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