The world is a scary place with even scarier people. It can be difficult to stay safe sometimes and in an event of an attack, action must take place. Self defense is crucial to living when getting attacked, whether it be in a home or on the street, action must be taken. In this piece, people who took lethal action out of self defense share their stories. Keep in mind, content is edited for clarity.
"I was staying with my grandfather while my parents were out of state and I woke up to a noise coming from upstairs (main floor, I was in the basement) and just knew it wasn't my grandfather. He has hearing damage from Vietnam and it didn't wake him up, but there was banging around and heavy footsteps. I was in the room with the weaponry cabinet, so I grabbed a weapon and went to check it out. When I got to the top of the stairs, I just saw a guy in the living room going through stuff, so I pressed the safety and said he needed to leave. He turned around and saw my unthreatening scared as ever 14 year old self and told me to just go back downstairs and mind my business; so I repeated myself.
He turned around and started walking towards me with something in his hand, so I fired. At this point my grandpa is very awake and comes out of his room and just tells me to look away and call the police. Thankfully due to all the factors of him being a repeat offender, having a weapon, my age, and castle laws, it didn't go any further than the police coming and asking me questions. It messed me up for a while, and I still think about it often, but I got over it and realized that as unfortunate as it was, I didn't have a whole lot of options at that point.
People talk about how if they're in a situation like mine that they'd shrug it off because they did what they had to do. That's certainly not the case. I'll forever have the image in my mind from immediately after firing and what he looked like, but it took a long time for me to cope with the idea of having taken someone's life. If you're familiar with the term sonder, it's like that, but overwhelming.
This guy may have made up all of 15 minutes of my life, but his life beforehand was infinitely complex. It's just really strange to think about in the context."
"Not sure if it was accidental, but while in college in my first apartment, I came home from work at 3am. Some dude was in the hallway outside my door, and I had a bad feeling about it. I paused and went to get the mail, hoping he would leave. Nope. I come back and he is waiting at my door. I asked him what was up, and he said he was looking for John. My name is not John, and I lived alone. I asked him to move and let me in my door. He told me to eff off and get John. I slid between him and the door, opened it, and he pushed his way in. I pushed him out, he took a swing at me. I swung back hitting him in the eye, which caused him to fall back and hit his head. Out cold. Forever. Apparently John was the guy who lived in the apartment before me. The dead guy spent 5 years in jail because of John ratting him out for illegal substances. Dead guy came to get some revenge. Got dead instead."
"I worked for an armed messenger service (those guys that drop off cash and pick up deposits from banks/businesses in the armored trucks).
Not even 10am and as I was opening the door to the truck, I saw a huge guy (I’m not tiny, over 6ft and well proportioned) in the mirror (meant just for this thing) get out of a car and run towards me. He put me in a chokehold and started grabbing for my weapon. He manhandled me like I weighed nothing, would have easily gotten the weapon if it wasn’t a L3 holster. I managed to draw it, press it against him and started pulling the trigger before I blacked out.
I have no idea what he would have done if he got the weapon and I’m not used to just being tossed around like that. He turned out to be blind wasted and played for a college football team.
I didn’t go sit on the floor of my shower and cry like in the movies or anything. I had a bad concussion and spent most of my time worrying I’d be arrested for murder. I’m sad it happened, but I never felt guilty, though I felt guilty that I didn’t feel guilty, if that makes sense. I feel like I was supposed to feel more and a bit ashamed I was able to get on with life without breakdowns or any sort of weird adverse affects (besides not liking people sitting behind me or having my back to an open door, but those I developed doing that job before that happened)."
"When I was 13 years old, I was babysitting my younger brother since our parents were out having a dinner date. At the time, my family lived on a dirt road, away from the city. Quiet place, so my parents didn't think much of leaving me alone with my 9-year-old little brother for an hour or two. I was putting him to bed when I heard a knock on the door. This knock was loud and he banged several times before stopping for a moment. Then I heard glass shatter.
I immediately grabbed my .22 long shooting weapon my parents got for me, and hid in my little brother's room behind his bed with weapon pointed at the door. I told him to hide under the bed and make no noise what so ever, no matter what happens. I had forgotten about my cellphone on the kitchen table halfway across the house. I remember thinking to myself to protect my little brother at any cost. I heard a lot of noises coming from inside my house. First in the kitchen, then living room, then my room, then finally the hallway to my little brother's room. As the door opened, I saw an unfamiliar guy, he quickly seen me then rushed me. As there was a good 5-10 steps from the door to my brother's bed, I fired all the rounds (5 rounds if anyone is wondering). I just remember him dropping on the floor with a loud thud, my brother crying. And a lot of blood. I called my parents after which they called the police. After talking with my parents, they told me the police said that the guy was our next door neighbor and a registered offender most likely was staking out the house, and he noticed we were home but our parents weren't.
Honestly it hasn't affected me as an adult. I did what had to be done, and I don't regret anything. Needless to say, any future dinner dates my parents had back then, they brought us along, which was nice."
"When I was 12, I was taken on my walk home from school, I was gone a month. I was given very little food and almost no water at all, he told me that he was a friend of my grandmother's and that she said he needed to watch me for a little since my grandmother was going to be out of town.
It turned out he was actually someone from my grandmother's past that had been stalking her for years and had even moved across country to follow her.
The first day, he locked me in an all cement basement. Every time he left, he would lock the door and push the dresser over it so I could not escape. I remember always thinking about how my grandmother could leave me with someone so evil.
He would come home inebriated and beat me and his son (his son was a year younger than me) until we were bloody.
On the fourth or fifth day, I tried to run away but unfortunately he got to me before I could escape. For my punishment, he tied me up to the back side of the house, totally bare with a sock in my mouth and sprayed me with one of those really powerful hoses, which made my body red. I could hear his son begging him to stop and that I didn’t mean to try and leave.
On the third week... he started to violate us. I was taken advantage of 6 times while there. He had threatened to cut off the genitals and balls of who ever tried to leave and make the other watch. I can say I don’t get scared of almost anything ever but in that moment I was the most terrified I had ever and will ever be.
On Thursday of the fourth week, he let me out to use the restroom. I remember feeling so weak, I lost so much weight and my skin color was going whiter the more days past by. When he let me out, I made a run for it up the stairs and to the second floor of the house. His son had run up with me.
I ran into a room and hid behind the closet door. His son ran to the balcony and was trying to figure out a way down safely. A moment later, his father was in the room screaming at his son and all the horrible things he was going to do to us.
He had thought I climbed down and ran. The man was talking about how they needed to get out of there and other things I can’t quite remember. He had his son in hand and was walking down the stairs. Everything went blank. I don’t remember what happened exactly at this moment but all I can remember is one second I was hiding behind the door and then it’s like I blinked, and I was pushing the man down the stairs.
I pushed him down the stairs. God I hate remembering that I killed someone. He had cracked his neck. Even if it was self defense, killing someone is one of the most horrific things in life. Knowing that someone who had dreams and thoughts, grew up with family and had been in love with someone before just like you might have or will, just for you to take everything away and leave nothing but a rotting shell is scarring.
A lot of this was a big blank in my mind until my friend (his son) reminded me of a lot of things.
When the cops came, his son and I were both starved, dehydrated. Abused. Black and blue and white and, as my grandmother said, 'Freezing to the touch,' we both have scars on our bodies to this day but his seem to be a lot less noticeable.
It’s sickening how much evil is in this word. Me and his son kept in contact after the events that transpired. Actually, we are best friends now and call and talk quite a bit. When I’m in Canada, I stay with him. A little after all of this happened, my grandmother moved us to the USA for some years. I will never forget what happened but I will never feel bad for myself for what happened because I know I only had to deal with it for a month. Who knows how long his son had to deal with all of that."
"This was a very traumatic experience for me. I had recently turned 18, graduated from high school, and started college. My college wasn’t in the best part of town, but I ignored the warnings and didn’t pay much attention to my surroundings. It was about 11 o’clock at night, and I was walking back to my dorm from a friend’s dorm that was across campus. Everything was regular until I started hearing footsteps on the sidewalk behind me. When I looked back, no one was there, but it still put me on edge. I kept walking, but I kept hearing the footsteps. Every time I turned around I couldn’t see anyone, and I was starting to get scared.
Finally, I turned around and saw a man walking further behind me. He was dressed in dark clothes and had a strange gait. As soon as I saw him, he started running at me, and he was fast. I grabbed my pepper spray from my purse (I was smart enough to carry it on me) and sprayed it directly into his eyes. He yelled, but it didn’t stop him for long, so I ran. I knew I could outrun him for a while because I was a state track runner all through high school. I could tell I was getting tired, but I didn’t know what else to do. I was on the edge of the campus, and part of it nudged right up to a dense forest, that’s the part I was on. I couldn’t see him, but I could hear his heavy footsteps as he tried to catch up to me. I saw a dead tree that was losing branches left and right. I picked a pretty big one and dragged it to the middle of the sidewalk. Then I took a good sized one that was pretty heavy, but I could still lift it easily. With my branch in hand, I hid behind a tree. Soon after I saw him, he was still running fast, and coming right up on the branch. Just as I planned, he tripped, and I saw his shocked, sick face as he fell to the ground. I ran out from my tree and started pummeling him over the head with my branch. I saw blood, but I ran off.
Once I got it my dorm, I took a second to catch my breath, and then I dialed 911. I explained to them what happened as the operator calmed me down, and signaled for an ambulance and some police. I learned later that the man died en route to the hospital, but also that he had been mugging and beating young women for ages as they walked alone in the dark. The police knew what he was doing, but they could never figure out his identity. I had to go to therapy for ages, but I’m semi-okay now, and I never walk alone in the dark."
"I was with an abusive ex who would come home inebriated every night. One night, we had a fight because I had my phone on vibrate and that obviously meant I was sleeping with other people behind his back.
He left for a while and came home more inebriated than I'd ever seen him. He wasn't making coherent sentences, but he lunged at me and wrapped his hands around my neck and sat on my chest. I thought I was going to die. I had done some Brazilian Ju Jitsu when I was younger and managed to pull me legs up under his crotch and then with everything I had, I pushed him off me. He hit his head on the sharp corner of a table we had in the living room and went still. I figured he had been knocked out, so I went outside and called the police. I was going to put him in jail. I had the deepest purple bruises in perfect fingerprint form around my neck...he would've gone to jail. I smoked outside, walked back in after I calmed my nerves just to make sure he wasn't awake and coming for me. He had a huge pool of blood under him. It was almost black looking, so I stood there trying to figure out what I was looking at. Put two and two together and the rest is history. Years of therapy. Self defense plea. Open and shut...
He only had his sister. His mom had been in prison for a long time. They weren't on good terms. She was states away from us at that time. She wrote me a letter once but my therapist told me to put it away until I was ready to read it. Haven't gotten there yet and this was nearly 12 years ago now. One day I will."
"My wife and I were awakened in the middle of the night by someone banging on our sliding glass door on the porch. I turned on the outdoor lights and saw a shirtless man pacing back and forth, smacking the glass with his palms hard. As soon as he saw me in the light, he went berserk, smashing against the door even harder, trying to open the door or lift it off the tracks to get in. I shouted to him to calm down, calm down, calm down. By the way, shouting for someone to calm down never works.
He looked like someone you'd see in one of those exotic freak outs on Youtube: unresponsive, zombielike. All I could imagine was him coming in to smash us to bits, he seemed super strong and I didn't know how the glass was withstanding his blows. My wife was on the phone with the cops while I was trying to mellow him. He eventually gave up on the door and smashed his way out through the screen porch. I thought it was over but heard my wife shout, 'He's coming around the side!' I heard banging on the glass of our bedroom window. He was smacking hard against it until I heard crash and the glass was shattered. At that point, I switched from pure fear into fear and anger. I was in the kitchen and scanned for a weapon. I grabbed the butcher knife from the top of the knife block, thinking 'What am I going to do with this? I couldn't mercy kill a rat in a trap let alone stab someone. Maybe I'll just poke at him to scare him off.'
I ran into the bedroom; he had smashed another window and I could hear him trying to crawl through the blinds. I screamed at him to leave or I'd kill him, took a poke at him which was deflected somehow. Then fear and anger switched to pure fury. I plunged the blade into his chest with all my strength. I still can feel that thrust to this day, it was awful. That snapped him out of whatever state he was in, he screamed, 'My chest!' and ran off.
The cops found him a couple houses down the street, dead in a pool of blood. The first days after were just shock and disbelief. But family, friends, my counselor were all supportive. I went into work over the next week or so even though my boss said to take whatever time I needed. Time healed quicker than I thought it would.
The man was not under the effects of illegal substances. He'd had a bad schizophrenic episode. He had fought with someone in a nearby group home, was locked in his room, then escaped through his window. Before the caregiver discovered the escape, he had tried to get into two other houses in the neighborhood before coming to mine.
I wish I knew more about him and hope he is at peace, I think about him every day. I felt like I was spared and given another chance. I appreciate life's little gifts more now. It's somehow made me a better person, at least I hope. I hope he's better now, too."
"My dad is a security guard. He’s very good at his job and has recently been asked to work in Japan for a music festival as a bodyguard of the artist organizing it. Back in 2016, he kicked a junkie out of a concert for, you know, being jacked up on crack. The guy waited outside and followed my dad home after the concert. Being so high, he obviously didn’t think and just wanted revenge. When he got our address, he left, but came back every so often waiting for a time that none of us were home. He snuck into the crawl space of my roof and lived there for what was apparently 2 weeks before my parents and brother were out at my brother’s soccer game.
So I’m home alone and bored, and I hear some banging in the roof. I didn’t know there was a dude up there at the time, obviously, so I opened up the roof to find out what it was. The second I opened it, he pounced on me. I kicked him off as soon as possible and ran down the hallway. He was a lot faster than me and as I realized this, the adrenaline finally kicked in and I decided to stay and fight.
I turned around, just in time to see him pull out a knife and go for my back. I put out my hand and the knife went straight through. But I didn’t feel it. The adrenaline was pumping. In a pure moment of fear, rage, and defense, I ripped my hand away, punched him with my left hand and ripped out the knife with my right. He ran at me again and I felt as if time slowed down. I held out the knife and happened to hit him in the throat. He suffocated about a minute later. I immediately called emergency services and 3 minutes later, an ambulance and two cop cars showed up. The cops didn’t arrest me as there was proof it was self-defense and that he was under the influence of illegal substances, so I was free to go to the hospital. The knife had barely missed my bones but it was too close for stitches, so I had to have my hand sort of glued together with a type of biodegradable, non-toxic superglue.
Actually, I’m kinda scared of what I can do, so I hold back a lot of the time. People usually bully me because I’m a wimp, but they don’t know what I’ve been through and I don’t let them get to me because I know what I’m capable of. I just can’t get rid of the image of a dude with those jacked eyes as the life drained out of them in front of me...it’s not a fun experience that’s for sure and I don’t wanna have to hurt anyone like that again."
"I was twelve, the oldest of three brothers. We were home alone while my parents were out on 'date night.' At maybe 10pm, we hear a loud banging at the front door before a man broke the lock with his sheer body weight and momentum. I told my brothers to hide in my room while I went to my parents' room for their Glock.
The whole time this guy is yelling about 'where are my keys' and he starts coming upstairs when he heard me fumbling as I tried to load the Glock. He flung the door to my parent's room open and I fell back with the weapon shaking in my hands. I closed my eyes and pulled the trigger twice, the first one caught him in the legs and the recoil made the second shot catch his entire torso.
The poor man had been inebriated and lived a few houses down the way, but I didn't learn that until after. All I could focus on was how he was begging his mother (She wasn't there) not to let him die and that he was sorry he let her down as he slowly died on the floor just feet away from me."
"I was 14 and lived on a farm about 15 miles from town. My dad came in and woke me up one Sunday to tell me he was taking my mom to church and dropping her off and coming right back. I was sicker than a dog and he didn't want to leave me home alone for that long. I mumbled ok to him and he left. I'm not entirely sure how long it was before I heard my dog growl this really terrifying growl that I've never heard from him, ever. I knew immediately something was wrong and before I could even call for him, he was in my room pulling on my sleeve trying to pull me out of bed. I knew something was wrong but I just couldn't pull myself up out of bed. Then I heard someone pounding on the door so hard I thought the glass was going to break. It snapped me awake more and my dog started barking and growling like some kind of demon, it was scary. He yanked on my sleeve so hard he succeeded in pulling me off the bed to the floor just as I heard the glass break. My dog flew downstairs just as the intruder came into the house. More growling and then a loud crack and whining. I was so scared for my dog and myself.
By the sheer Grace of God, I was able to get to my parent's bedroom where my dad's weapons were. I grabbed the 12 gauge and sat down on the bed as it directly faced the door and I knew I'd never be able to stand up long enough to wait for him to come in. So I sat and waited. I could hear him tearing up the house looking for stuff to take and then I hear his heavy footsteps coming up the stairs. My room was next to my parents' and right in front of the stairs. I heard him going through my room and waited for him to open the door to my parents room. I was shaking and sweating so profusely it was hard to keep my grip on the weapon. I was just praying to God to give me the strength I needed to survive.
It felt like forever before I finally heard him turn the knob. I almost shot instantly but I had to make sure it wasn't a friend or family member (stupid, I know, considering it clearly wasn't but still) he got the door open and I could fully see him and the weapon in his hand, so I shot. The shot landed dead center in his chest, it was horrific to see. I stumbled downstairs to try to reach the phone to call for help. I tumbled down the last few stairs and landed at the bottom and everything went black. My dad had come home and was shaking me awake and I could hear the fear in his voice. He was asking if someone was at the house and I managed to mumble the word bedroom. He immediately called the sheriff and went upstairs. I don't remember much else except my dog (he was hurt bad but alive) had managed to get to me and was laying his head on my chest and licking my face. I ended up in the hospital overnight (because of my illness and nothing else) I was released the following morning and the sheriff came out to the house and questioned me and that was the end of it. The guy had escaped from custody in a city about 40 miles away, he had been arrested after killing his wife and 2 kids."
"I was heading home when I was attacked by two guys. They followed me when I got off the metro. My first memory of the attack is being on the ground and getting kicked in the head and ribs over and over. I was disoriented and it took me a few moments to realize what was happening and that I was being robbed.
All that was going through my mind was don't resist, don't fight back, let them hit you and take your backpack you can get another one. All the stuff your parents and movies teach you.
The guy hitting me had one of those metal collapsible batons, the other was just watching from 10 feet away. The beating stopped when the guy with the baton tried to take my boots. I made eye contact with the other guy and at that moment he said 'eff it' and pulled out a knife. I decided to fight back.
The rest is a blur. I remember a few details but I have no idea what order they happened in. I remember booting the guy closest to me in the face and getting on top of him. I managed to get the baton away and started hitting them with it. I went for the head till they put their arms up then to the body until they put their arms down...back and forward until the one guy went down. Then back to the other guy till he went down. Then back to the other as he got back up.
Next thing I remember was waiting for the cops to get there. Some people close by had called them and were waiting with me. I don't remember feeling myself being stabbed or cut in any way until the people waiting with me pointed it out. There was a small part of my intestine bulging out and I had some major lacerations on my arms neck and shoulder. Over 60 stitches and a major concussion but I was out of the hospital the next morning. To shorten the story a bit the end result was one of them died and the other was arrested and spent a few months in the hospital before prison.
The lack of any guilt over the situation is what truly was the most troubling. Everyone kept asking me how I was doing mentally, no one believed me when I told them I felt fine.
I have a feeling many of the others on here can agree with me on what it was like after.
Coffee tasted amazing The air smelt fresh and clean The grass couldn't be any greener My entire outlook on life had changed and I suddenly couldn't care less about any of the trivial stresses I use to care about."
"I woke up one night to my dog barking, which he never does, so I grabbed my weapon and went to check it out. I didn't call the cops because I had no idea what it was. I had checked out noises dozens of times that turned out to be animals or branches or other random innocent things, so why did I have a reason to believe this was different? When I looked out the front door I could see some motion by my truck and I heard some pounding. I opened the door and side stepped to where I could see down my drive way and I saw someone punching my truck (never seen him in my life) so I asked what he was doing.
He stopped and turned to me huffing and puffing and started saying things like 'she’s a liar' and such. I asked where he thought he was, he told me, and it was a street like 3 blocks away. I proceeded to tell him he was at the wrong house and that he needed to leave, but he refused and said he was at the right place and then proceeded to approach me.
I raised my weapon and pointed it at his chest, I had been holding it in both hands pointed at the ground directly in front of me the whole time, and told him he needed to leave and that he was at the wrong house. He didn’t listen. He kept coming toward me repeating what he said about someone being a liar.
I told him again that he needed to leave, and he then told me he was invincible, which with the way he was talking and acting plus that told me he was high as a kite. As he was approaching, I was gradually backing up to my front door (I wanted to be between him and the entry to my house with my wife inside) and eventually was backed up directly to it. He eventually got within arms reach of my weapon and made a swipe for it, so I yanked it back and then pushed back out and fired a shot right in the center of his chest. He didn’t flinch, he didn’t grimace, or anything to show that he was just shot. He then started coming at me again and I proceeded to shoot him till he dropped, 6 shots total (I originally thought it was 3 until the police told me otherwise), all in the center of his chest. He moved a little and then stopped.
After making sure he wasn’t getting up, I went inside, quickly told my wife I was ok, and called the cops and put on shorts (I was in my underwear) as I went back outside. The cops showed up about 5 minutes later. I had put my weapon down inside before so I told him I was unarmed with my arms out and told him where the guy was. He detained me, and after about 6 hours and a couple interviews at the police department, I was released with zero charges against me.
Definitely not a fun night. I was in shorts the whole time and the police department was freezing cold. I couldn’t even talk to my wife and make sure she knew I was ok or even tell her what happened. I could hear the dude's girlfriend (who was later taken to the hospital for injuries he gave her before he came to my house) crying in another room before I asked to be moved.
In the military (I'm a veteran), and I'm pretty sure police, they teach that someone trying to grab your weapon is considered lethal force. So going off my prior teachings, that is why I shot him. I firmly believed he would take it and try to use it on me. Plus I only shot again once I knew he was still trying to attack me."