The Nashville-area woman and her boyfriend had been dating for two years. It was an unhealthy, rocky affair. While the couple was together, neighbors say they saw police visit the woman’s home in Goodlettsville, Tenn., responding to reports of domestic violence. And when the woman discovered her boyfriend, Tony Joe Gunter, age 52, had accumulated a lengthy criminal record, that was the end.
She told Gunter to leave and not come back.
He did not take the news lightly. “I will kill you, you stupid c—,” he allegedly responded, according to Nashville Metro Police documents obtained by Fox’s WZTV.
Though they were broken up, the woman said Gunter refused to leave her alone. She filed a restraining order against him, which police said Gunter violated three times.
On three instances, the woman said she came home to find signs of a forced entry. Twice, she had her locks changed. Meanwhile, Gunter accrued three outstanding warrants for violating the order of protection.
Despite the new locks, the woman still did not feel safe. She called ADT Security to install a home security system. As the technician finished up the installation of the system on Tuesday, around 3 p.m., the woman went into her bedroom to grab her cellphone.
But the phone had vanished from where she’d left it. If there was a mystery to where it had gone, the reason was immediately — and alarmingly — apparent. A pair of feet poked out from underneath her bed. They were Gunter’s. That was when the woman thought she might die: It was his life or hers, as she would later tell WKRN News reporter Jessica Jaglois.
The woman drew a gun, shot Gunter in his left foot and told the ADT installer to dial the police. WZTV reported that she demanded the now-wounded Gunter give her back her phone, which he tossed to the woman from beneath the bed. She kept him there, weapon trained, until the authorities arrived. Police say he admitted to breaking into the house and stole the phone to prevent her from calling for help.
Gunter was arrested and charged with aggravated burglary, as well as lesser charges for violations of the restraining order and stalking. He recovered from his non-life-threatening shooting wounds at a hospital and is now being held on a $165,000 bond, according to the New York Daily News, and is awaiting a hearing. The police did not charge the woman, the officers said, as she shot Gunter in self-defense.
Neighbors applauded the woman’s actions. “Good for her,” neighbor Mary Alice Lovell told WKRN. “If he was trying to abuse her and she had a gun and she had a restraining order against him, then she has to protect herself.”