Chris Gaither was home alone “petting the dogs” on Wednesday morning when he heard a noise upstairs.
The 11-year-old boy from Talladega, Ala., told NBC affiliate WVTM-TV that he was scared, so he grabbed a knife and steadied himself.
Chris said that a man appeared on the stairwell, but when confronted, he ran back up upstairs. When the man reappeared moments later, the boy told WVTM-TV, the individual was holding a gun.
“When he was coming down the stairs, that’s when he told me he was going to kill me, f-you and all that,” Chris said.
Instead of running, Chris told the station, he upgraded his weaponry, picking up a 9mm handgun that was in the home.
Chris said he threatened to kill the man and ordered him to get out of the house.
“I guess when I pulled the gun out on him he didn’t think it was a real gun cause he didn’t worry about it,” Chris told the station. “He just kept on walking.”
Not only was Chris holding a real gun, the boy knew how to use it. His stepfather had been giving him shooting lessons, he told WVTM-TV.
Once the man made it outside, Chris fired a warning shot. The man, who was carrying a stolen laundry hamper, began running. Chris emptied the magazine, firing off 12 shots by the time the intruder neared a fence in the family’s front yard, the 11-year-old told the station.
The final shot hit the man in the leg as he was hopping the fence, the boy said.
“I shot through the hamper he was carrying,” Chris said. “It was a full metal jacket bullet. It went straight through the back of his leg. He started crying like a little baby.”
The man was taken to a local hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening.
Talladega Police are investigating the incident but have not identified the suspect, according to WVTM-TV.
In 2006, the Hunstville Times reports, Alabama enacted Stand Your Ground, a law that permits the use the use of deadly force against an aggressor if that person is:
- About to use unlawful deadly physical force.
- A burglar about to use physical force.
- Engaged in kidnapping, assault, robbery, or rape.
- Unlawfully and forcefully entering a home or car, or attempting to remove a person against their will. (There are exceptions for people who used to live there and are under no injunctions or domestic protection orders.)
- Breaking into a nuclear power plant.
A 2013 addition to the law, the paper reports, allows for the use of deadly force against someone who is “using or about to use physical force against an owner, employee, or other person authorized to be on business property when the business is closed to the public while committing or attempting to commit a crime involving death, serious physical injury, robbery, kidnapping, rape, sodomy, or a crime of a sexual nature involving a child under the age of 12.”
Chris and his mother — who was not named by the station during an on-camera interview — told WVTM-TV that they were familiar with the suspected intruder, though they don’t know him well.
Chris referred to the man as “a meth-head” in his 30s who had robbed them before and is known for targeting other homes in the area.
“I hope you learned your lesson from coming to this house trying to steal stuff,” Chris said.
“Be brave, you’ll be okay,” he added. “Trust God.”