Coming Face to Face with a Burglar - A True Story

El Paso, Texas

City of El Paso, Texas at dusk.
City of El Paso, Texas at dusk. | Source

Introduction

I was born and raised most of my life in the city of El Paso, Texas which borders with the Mexican town of Cuidad Juarez. When I was a teenager, back in the early 70’s, Cuidad Juarez was nothing like it is today. It was a little rough, but my dad could take us over there to do some shopping and eat dinner and you really didn’t have to worry about drug cartels or being kidnapped for human trafficking like you do today.

El Paso was a big town,but we lived in a small, middle class neighborhood where we kids could play outside all day and we knew to be home when the porch light came on. We did lock our doors at night, but I never knew of any crimes committed in our little neighborhood. All the neighbors knew each other and we were almost like one big family where everyone looked out for each other.

Part of the White Sands Missile Range Museum.
Part of the White Sands Missile Range Museum. | Source

My dad worked about 90 miles away at the White Sands Missile Range where he was Captain of the fire department. He would work 24 hours on and then 24 hours off. He would leave the house about 5:30 in the morning and be gone until about 8:15 the next morning. So there were many nights that my mom and I would spend by ourselves, but we were never afraid.

I was 16 years old at the time of this incident and had gone out with one of my friends to the bowling alley. We met up with some more of our friends and bowled until about 11:00. It was the weekend and I didn’t have to be home until midnight. My mom would go on to sleep before I got home, but I always had to wake her up so she would know I arrived home safely.

On this night, I arrived home a little early and noticed that all the lights in the house were on. When I walked into her bedroom to let her know I was home, I saw her sitting on the edge of her bed holding on to my old BB gun. I almost chuckled when I ask her what she was doing. She proceeded to snap back at me that it wasn’t funny, someone had been trying to break into the house.

We lived in a moderately nice house. It was a 3 bedroom house with a nice large living room and kitchen. The kitchen had a door that led out to the driveway. Mom said that someone had been trying to get in the kitchen door, so she turned on all the lights and got my old BB gun to scare them away. I don’t know who she thought she would scare with my BB gun, but she was afraid of my dad’s shotgun and wouldn’t touch it.

I assured her that it was probably just some neighborhood kids playing around. You know how kids used to knock on your door and then run away. I checked to see that all the doors were locked and told her to go back to sleep, it was close to midnight and I was sure the kids are back home by then. I turned out all the lights, put on my jammies and went to bed.

As I lay in bed, the house is dark and quiet. The only sound I hear is the ticking of my alarm clock sitting beside my bed. As I begin to drift off to sleep, I hear it! The sound of someone jiggling the doorknob on the kitchen door. I sit straight up in bed! Did I really hear that or was it just my imagination? Then I heard it again, clearly this time, someone is trying to get in the kitchen door! My dad has been meaning to replace the door knob on the kitchen door. If you jiggle it long enough, it will come unlocked.

Shot gun and 2 shells.
Shot gun and 2 shells. | Source

As I gather my composure, I think to myself that it is probably those kids again. I decide that I am going to jerk the door open and scare the crap out of them the next time they jiggle the door knob. As I creep into the kitchen and peer around the corner, I see the face of a man staring in the window of the kitchen door. This is not kids playing around! I jump back into the hallway and quickly remember the shot gun that my dad keeps loaded inside his closet. I rush to get it as my mom follows me down the hallway. As I quickly dig the shot gun out of the back of the closet, my mom starts to panic. I reassure her that I know how to use the shotgun as my dad taught me to shoot from an early age. He used to take me bird hunting when I was younger. I check that there are shells in the shot gun, it is loaded with two shells, which should be all I need.

I tell my mom to stay in the hallway and I slowly creep around the corner and into the kitchen. I duck down behind the kitchen cabinet and remain motionless, listening to see if he comes back. I can hear my heart pounding in my ears and I am breathing too fast. I calm myself down and slow my breathing. Just as I have decided he is gone, I hear the door knob jiggle once again.

Slowly, I raise the shot gun up and rest the barrel on the edge of the kitchen cabinet. I check my aim, looking down the barrel of the shot gun. I hear the door knob as it continues to jiggle, then I hear a little click. Just as I raise my head back up I see the kitchen door begin to open. He has managed to jiggle the door knob until it unlocked!

The kitchen door came open!
The kitchen door came open! | Source

Oh my God! The door is slowly opening! Am I really going to shoot someone? Quickly I pray to God that I don’t have to fire the shotgun. I don’t want to shoot anyone, but what will happen if he gets inside? He has been very determined to get inside the house. He knows there is someone home. What does he want? Does he know that my dad is not home tonight? Does he want to rob us? Is he a rapist or a serial killer? A thousand questions run through my head!

I take a deep breath and watch as his hand comes around the edge of the door. My hands are shaking! My heart is racing as he sticks his head in the room and begins to look around. I notice that he is very dirty, with black all over his face. I quickly tell myself that I am not scared, I’m mad! I am not going to let this person intrude into my house! I quickly stand up, holding the shot gun aimed right at him.

I yelled something at him, I have no idea what it was I said. He jerked his head around and his eyes became as big as dinner plates when he saw me standing there with the shot gun. He began to scream something back to me in Spanish, but I couldn’t tell what he was saying. He quickly jumped back out the door and disappeared into the darkness.

I slammed the door shut and re-locked it. As I looked out the window there was nothing but blackness outside and all I could hear was my heart pounding a zillion miles an hour. I quickly thanked God that I didn’t have to shoot the man and that everyone was all right. I placed a chair in front of the door and propped it against the door knob. No one would be opening that door again tonight!

I did go to bed, but I don’t think I ever slept that night. I kept the shot gun on the floor beside my bed. I remember my dad coming in my room the next morning. I woke up as he was picking the shot gun up off the floor. With a smile on his face, he whispered to me, “You did good sister, now go back to sleep.”

There was a railroad not far from our house and I really think that he was perhaps a migrant worker or a “hobo” who was looking for food. Whoever he was, I was certain that he wouldn’t be trying to rummage at our house again! My dad fixed the door knob the next day and my mom kept the BB gun under her bed, “Just in case” she said.

Have you ever had a break in while you were home?

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Comments 44 comments

sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 17 months ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

Thank you Ronna! It was rather frightening, especially as a young teenager. However, I think I was more angry than scared at the time. Thank you for stopping by!


Ronna Pennington profile image

Ronna Pennington 17 months ago from Arkansas

Oh my gosh! How frightening! Great story, and I'm glad everything turned out all right.


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 20 months ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

Thank you Cornelia! I think I was more mad than scared. I'm glad you enjoyed my story, thank you for stopping by!


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 20 months ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

Thank you, Bill! I am very glad I didn't have to shoot him too, that would be hard to live with, but I think I would have done it if he would have kept coming towards me. He was probably as scared as I was! I hope you never have to deal with anything like this as well, my friend!


bdegiulio profile image

bdegiulio 20 months ago from Massachusetts

Hi Sheila. What a story. Aren't you a brave one. I'm glad you didn't have to shoot the intruder, no one should have to live with that. Incredible story, I hope I never have to deal with a situation like that.


CorneliaMladenova profile image

CorneliaMladenova 20 months ago from Cork, Ireland

Oh my goodness, Sheila, you are so brave. If it was me, I would have got petrified and scared to death. :) Great story by the way. Love this hub :)


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 20 months ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

Thank you, Mona! I really grew up fast when I was a child. I am very thankful that the man ran away. I hope my parents were proud of me, I think they were! Thank you for such a very kind comment! I hope you have a wonderful day!


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 20 months ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

Thank you, RTalloni! Yes, I appreciate that my dad taught me gun safety at an early age. That has been the only time I have actually pointed a firearm at someone. Thank God I didn't have to use it! I don't really know why this man was trying to get in the house, but there was a railroad not far from us and a lot of migrant workers and "bums" rode the trains. I agree, hunger was no excuse to break into someone's home. Thank you for stopping by!


grand old lady profile image

grand old lady 20 months ago from Philippines

You were a most impressive 16 year old. I'm amazed at the way you were so young at the time, yet kept a cool head, hoping you wouldn't have to shoot the man, but ready to do so if you had to. Thankfully, the man ran away. Good for you! You parents must have been proud of you all of your life.


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 20 months ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

Thank you, Patricia! Yes, sometimes these type of stories don't have good endings. We were definitely blessed! Thank you for stopping by!


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 20 months ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

Thank you, Randi! When hubby and I were first married, we had a "peeping tom" too! Long story, but hubby met him at the window one night and chased him down the street with a baseball bat! Good thing he didn't catch him as hubby was pretty pissed! He later turned himself in to the police.


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 20 months ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

Hi Faith Reaper. I don't know why she didn't call the police before I got home. I thinks she wasn't real sure that someone was trying to break in. Back in those days, you didn't call the police much, you just took care of things yourself. Thanks for stopping by!


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 20 months ago from the short journey

So glad you had the gun and the training to use it safely. I agree with JL, hunger is not a viable explanation--too many other victims tell the rest of the story.


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 20 months ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

Thank you, colorfulone! "Locked and loaded" said it all! Thank you for stopping by!


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 20 months ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

Thank you travmaj! I'm glad I didn't have to fire that gun too! Knowing it is a true story does seem to evoke more emotional involvement, doesn't it. I'm glad you enjoyed my story and thank you for stopping by!


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 20 months ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

I am very glad I didn't have to fire the gun also, Alicia! I would really hate to have to hurt or kill someone, especially if that person was just looking for food, but who knows what he may have done if my mom had walked in on him. I had to do what I had to do. It all worked out ok, thank God! Thank you for stopping by!


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 20 months ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

Thank you KJ. I would have been scared to death, walking in on someone looking for drugs! I would have exited immediately too and called the police. I guess the fact that he was coming into my house made the difference. I also have "awareness" and that is a very good thing to have! Thank you for stopping by!


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 20 months ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

Thank you, sprickita! I wouldn't really know the first thing about writing a book, but thank you for your kind suggestion. I always looked out for my mom when my dad was away. Thank you for stopping by!


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 20 months ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

Thank you, Shauna. I probably was scared to death, but there was no time to do anything else. We didn't have 911 back then and I just did the only think I could think of to do. Thank you for stopping by!


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 20 months ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

Thank you breakfastpop! I'm not so sure about the brave part. I may have been incredibly stupid back then, but it all worked out. Thank you for stopping by!


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 20 months ago from sunny Florida

So happy for you that it turned out so well. You were blessed!!! Too often stories like yours have a far different ending.

And you were so brave!!!!

Angels are on the way to you this morning ps


btrbell profile image

btrbell 20 months ago from Mesa, AZ

Wow! Scary! For a short while a few years back, i had a "peeping tom." The first time I was pretty much terrified but then j and myself with mace and a very heavy flashlight. If I heard him approach, I'd grab my phone, my mace and my flashlight facing the window, meeting him know he wasn't welcome. I have no idea what i would have done if he had tried to come in. You were extremely brave. Well done!


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 20 months ago from southern USA

Wow, how terrifying and brave you were as a teenager! You had good self control to keep a level head. I was wondering the same thing as Will, why did your mother or you not call the police?

Glad you were all safe.


colorfulone profile image

colorfulone 20 months ago from Minnesota

Sheila my hat is off to you. I have not come face to face with a burglar but if one ever thinks of breaking in I will do what I have to to protect my, Mom and myself. Locked & loaded.


travmaj profile image

travmaj 20 months ago from australia

This is a frightening story. I'm so glad it ended the way it did. Odd isn't it - had it been fiction I would have enjoyed the story and all the elements. When it is presented truthfully, the angst steps in an we just feel all the emotional involvement. Well done and I'm so glad you didn't have to fire that gun.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 20 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

This is an interesting story about a very frightening experience, Sheila. I would have been terrified if I had experienced what you did! I'm very glad that you didn't have to fire the gun, though.


kj force profile image

kj force 20 months ago from Florida

agbrown..You were very brave especially taking into consideration your age at the time. I know the overwhelming feeling throughout your mind/body when facing a burglar. I arrived at the clinic one morning, interrupting a man who was looking for drugs...needless to say, I turned and exited immediately, later police stated he had a gun in his possession. I have had " Awareness " ever since, as the feeling never really leaves you...

thanks for sharing...have a good night


sprickita profile image

sprickita 20 months ago from Reno

That is a good story ,well described for its length , I think you can and should take and build off the truth to come up with a decent sized book even. Awesome u looked out4 ur ma like that , you rock ! 8-) happy Hubbing


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 20 months ago from Central Florida

Wow, Sheila. I would have been scared to death! You were very brave to take on the burglar by yourself. I'd have called 911 while I shook right out of my skin!


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 20 months ago

You were incredibly brave despite the fact that you had to be terrified.


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 20 months ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

Ha ha! Thank you, Flourish! I have to credit my dad for my "level head". He taught me to be brave and learn to defend myself at an early age. Thank you for stopping by!


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 20 months ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

Thank you, Sunshine! I was pretty scared, but I don't think I was as scare as that man was when he saw the shotgun! Thanks for stopping by!


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 20 months ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

Hi Becky! I agree about the "click-click" sound of a shot gun. That sound will send chills down anyone's spine! I have a .38 handgun I carry in my purse. I'm a pretty good shot but it also has a laser sight on it, just in case. Thank you for stopping by, Becky!


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 20 months ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

Thank you, Jackie! My dad retired from the Army and was a police officer, so he taught me how to defend myself at a very young age. Yes, even being hungry is no excuse for breaking into someone's home. Thank you for stopping by!


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 20 months ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

Thank you, Sally! How scary to find someone in your room trying on your clothes! He would have probably found a bullet hole in those jeans! Yes, it does seem as if the world has gone crazy sometimes. Thanks for stopping by!


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 20 months ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

Hi Will! No, you didn't miss anything. I'm not sure why we didn't call the police. I guess we thought we had it handled and the guy was probably long gone. Thank you for stopping by!


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 20 months ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

Thank you, Paula! I was very thankful that I didn't have to shoot the guy. I really think he was hungry, but you still can't break into someone's home. I'm glad you enjoyed my story. Thank you for stopping by!


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 20 months ago from USA

What a scary incident. You are one levelheaded lady. I'd want you as my sidekick (or right out in front) any day.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 20 months ago from Orlando, FL

You did very good! It must have been a terrifying experience for you, your mom and obviously the burglar too! :)


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 20 months ago from Hereford, AZ

I have 911 on my speed dial. I also have a loaded shotgun. My husband has a pistol, but I prefer a shotgun. I know I do not need to worry about missing with it. The click-click of the pump will scare anyone off that is not really determined to cause trouble. My husband was a cop for many years on the CA border. He has said that the click-click is so distinctive that even if you have not heard it before, you know what it is. That sound encouraged many crooks to just raise their hands when he was working, and kept him from having to shoot someone.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 20 months ago from The Beautiful South

How horrible Sheila! I know I would have killed that man so you were really brave to run him away without a shot! Hunger is no excuse; we had several men stop by our home for food when I was a kid and they none had to break in to get it! Your father was certainly right. You did good sister!

^+


sallybea profile image

sallybea 20 months ago from Norfolk

Quite a story. I had several encounters with burglars whilst living in South Africa. On one occasion I woke up to find the burglar in my room trying on my jeans for size. In one year alone we had five burglaries and countless stories from friends and family who had similar experiences. The world has gone crazy especially when you begin to think of this is normal.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 20 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Good story and you were right to keep a cool head and arm yourself. The one thing I do question why you did not call the police? Or did I miss something?


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 20 months ago from The Midwest, USA

Hello Sheila, and WOW, what a story! Oh my goodness, I can't imagine that happening to me in my own home. I am so glad it all worked out ok in the end. So glad no one was hurt. Thanks for sharing your story. It may help someone go ahead and get their lock fixed, that has been putting it off! A very interesting story that kept me on the edge of my seat.

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