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Pistol-Tottin' Grandma Forced Burglar to Call 911

Leda Smith of Lake Lynn, Pennsylvania, returned from church to find that her house was in the process of being burglarized. So what did the 85-year-old great-grandma do? She didn't exactly cower in fear:

"I saw him move by my keyboard near the wall but I just walked right on past him to the bedroom and got my gun," Smith said, noting that she started keeping the .22-caliber revolver by her bed after a burglary at a neighboring home several weeks ago.

Smith said she then found the boy hiding and confronted him. "I said, 'What are you doing in my house?'" Smith said during an interview Monday with WPXI-TV, Channel 11 in Pittsburgh, a news partner with the Herald-Standard. "He just kept saying he didn't do it."

Smith ordered the teen to turn around and not to run and then had him pick up the telephone and dial 911. She then ordered the boy to give her the telephone after placing the call and she told dispatchers about the intruder.

Officials from 911 stayed on the telephone with Smith as she had the boy lay facedown and spread-eagled on the floor.

Don't mess with this grandma! Links: Article at Herald Standard by Josh Krysak | Video clip of Alan Jennings of WPXI-TV interviewing LEDA


I'm not familiar with Penn laws, but in a lot of places it's illegal to do that, even if you catch the burglar redhanded. It's considered wrongful imprisonment unless you're an officer of the law. At the least he can bring suit in a civil court for emotional duress, since she held him at gunpoint.
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Re: bean (#2) If that is the law, then it needs to be amended to protect victims' rights. It sounds to me like the woman did an excellent job of remaining level-headed in a situation that could easily have ended in bloodshed. Her house was being robbed, and the burglar very likely would have fled or even attacked her had she not pulled her gun on him. Yes, she got the upper hand on him, and he may have been unarmed. But it was her house, he was robbing it, and she should have the right to defend herself and her property, even if it means carrying out a citizen's arrest. By holding him there at gunpoint, she ensured her own safety and made the cops' job all that much easier.
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Nicholas Dollak -

Well, good for you for supporting deadly weapons in the hands of private citizens. But that doesn't change the law. If her finger had slipped on the trigger, she could have killed him, and been put in prison herself for murder. Since she's very elderly, the burglar could have taken the gun away from her and killed her with her own gun, and gotten away since she didn't immediately call the police. This lady did not do the right thing.
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The proper solution would have been:

1. Upgrade to a .38 at a minimum. A .22 will only make
the bum mad if he's shot.

2. Place one shot between his eyes. If he's facing away
the back of the head works well also.

3. Call the law.

End of problem.

Bean - It's you liberals that are continuing to take away our rights. You won't be happy until the government runs every aspect of our life from cradle to grave. It's already close. Why do you leftists always side with the criminals? I imagine when your house is broken into you'll sit down and have tea with them.
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I agree with Nicholas Dollak, the granny did a good job remaining level-headed and handled the situation well. Emotional duress? Hello! He broke in! Who caused who emotional duress in the first place?
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Yeah, you're right Bean. She shoulda just nonchalantly spread her legs and let him rape her. Because TERRIBLE THINGS CAN HAPPEN when old folks try to defend themselves from criminals.
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She wouldn't have gone to prison for murder. There is no U.S. court that would convict her.

Furthermore, haven't you ever heard of a citizen's arrest? I may not want a gun in my house and I never plan on owning one. But that woman did EXACTLY the right thing in that situation. She did not discharge her weapon. She kept a level head and she was smart about it. Just because I don't feel comfortable holding a firearm does not mean I should strip away the rights of others to LEGALLY procure and own one. She owned a small handgun, not a semi-automatic (which I do have issues with private citizens owning, but that's a whole different debate.)

Bean - you're being very closeminded. Get over yourself.
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I think she did the right thing with the deadly weapon she had. She didn't chase after the guy and shoot him in the back. She didn't pick a fight. She had calm control of the situation. Completely different from the "good old boy" scenario.

I wonder if the gun was even loaded. I can imagine her standing over him, barking "Do you feel lucky, punk?"

Good for her - not that I approve of the proliferation of guns - but good for her, anyways.
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Each state with the exception of North Carolina permits citizen arrests if the commission of felony is witnessed by the arresting citizen, or when a citizen is asked to assist in the apprehension of a suspect by police. The application of state laws varies widely with respect to misdemeanors, breaches of the peace, and felonies not witnessed by the arresting party. American citizens do not carry the authority or enjoy the legal protections of police, and are held to the principle of strict liability before the courts of civil- and criminal law including but not limited to any infringement of another's rights.[24]

Though North Carolina General Statutes have no provision for citizen's arrests, detention by private persons is permitted and apply to both civilians and police officers outside their jurisdiction.[25]

Detention, being different from an arrest in the fact that a detainee may not be transported without consent, is permitted where probable cause exists that one has committed a felony, breach of peace, physical injury to another person, or theft or destruction of property.[26]
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