Mom who shot intruder inspires gun control foes

A Georgia mother who shot an intruder at her home has become a small part of the roaring gun control debate, with some firearms enthusiasts touting her as a textbook example of responsible gun ownership.
Associated Press
Jan 10, 2013

Melinda Herman grabbed a handgun and hid in a crawl space with her two children when a man broke in last week and approached the family at their home northeast of Atlanta, police said. Herman called her husband on the phone, and with him reminding her of the lessons she recently learned at a shooting range, Herman opened fire, seriously wounding the burglary suspect.

The National Rifle Association tweeted a link to a news story about the shooting, and support poured in from others online, hailing Herman as a hero. The local sheriff said he was proud of the way she handled the situation.

"This lady decided that she wasn't going to be a victim, and I think everyone else looks at this and hopes they have the courage to do what she done," Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman said Wednesday.

Herman was working from home Friday when she saw a man walk up to the front door. She told police he rang the doorbell twice and then over and over again. He went back to his SUV, got something out and walked back toward the house, a police report said.

Herman took her 9-year-old son and daughter into an upstairs bedroom and locked the door. They went into bathroom and she locked that door, too. She got her handgun from a safe, the report said, and hid with her children. At some point, she called her husband, who kept her on the line and called 911 on another line.

In a 10-minute 911 recording released by the Walton County Sheriff's Office, Donnie Herman calmly explained what was happening to a dispatcher. His part of the conversation with his wife was also recorded.

"Is he in the house, Melinda? Are you sure? How do you know? You can hear him in the house?" Donnie Herman said.

His wife told him the intruder was coming closer.

"He's in the bedroom? Shh, shh, relax. Just remember everything that I showed you, everything that I taught you, all right?" Donnie Herman told his wife, explaining later to the dispatcher that he had recently taken her to a gun range.

It wasn't clear from the recording exactly when they went to range and Donnie Herman told The Associated Press on Wednesday the family didn't want to talk about the shooting.

After Donnie Herman told his wife police were on the way, he started shouting: "She shot him. She's shootin' him. She's shootin' him. She's shootin' him. She's shootin' him."

"OK," the dispatcher responded.

"Shoot him again! Shoot him!" Donnie Herman yelled. He told the dispatcher he heard a lot of screaming, but he seems to get increasingly worried when he doesn't hear anything from his wife.

Melinda Herman told police she started shooting the man when he opened the door to the crawl space. The man pleaded with her to stop, but she kept firing until she had emptied her rounds, she told police. She then fled to a neighbor's house with her children.

The man drove away in his SUV. Police found the SUV on another subdivision street and discovered a man bleeding from his face and body in a nearby wooded area. Police identified the suspect as 32-year-old Paul Slater of Atlanta.

Chapman said the hospital asked him not to comment on Slater's condition, but he said he is not certain Slater will survive. Authorities have a warrant but haven't formally arrested Slater yet. They plan to charge him with burglary, possession of tools for the commission of a crime and aggravated assault, Walton County sheriff's Capt. Greg Hall said.

A phone number for Slater was not listed and it was not clear whether he has an attorney.

Authorities believe Slater targeted a home in another local subdivision but left when confronted by the homeowner, Chapman said.

 

Comments

Speakezy

Good for her! Protecting her family like a good mother!!!

totallyamazed

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I agree, good for her.
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samiam

Obama signs a bill authorizing life time guards for himself but he wants to take my guns away. What a hypocrit!

Isn't it ironic that CT and CA have some of the strictest gun control laws in the country and what good did it do?

wiredmama222

I don't recall anything I have read that says Obama wants to take your guns away. In fact, what I have been hearing all day from Biden is more background checks, less assault weapons (which this woman didn't use) and more responsible emphysis on background checks with people who have had mental illness issues.

I wish people would really state the truth of the matters at hand instead of something that is just simply not true at all. I have yet to hear ONE LEGAL word from either Obama or Biden or anyone from Washington saying they are going to take anyone's guns away. The only one saying that is the NRA and other gun owners groups which is an absolute lie. The government would have to undo the second amendment and you can't do that even with an executive order...even I know that much.

bigsexy

Respect a lot or your posts Wired, but when the government restricts gun laws you are only restricting the law abiding citizen rights. Criminals will continue to get, carry and use firearms no matter what the government does!

Ban high capacity magazines??? The law abiding citizen will abide, but will the criminals? Ban or limit assault rifles??? The law abiding citizen will abide, but will the criminals?

This is far beyond a gun issue, this is a people issue.

wiredmama222

@bigsexy....ty for the comment.

Truthfully, I am trying to understand this. It really isn't a people issue with me. I understand fully that for some, it is and I am trying to get that but am struggling.

In answer to YOUR questions, how do you intend to restrict ANY criminal? Do you think the government can confiscate THEIR guns. Like it or not, a criminal is still and American citizen, with all the constitutional rights of their fellow citizens until he breaks a local law, a federal law or a state law. It sucks, but there it is. He has a right to his gun too.

People kill people everyday. You can't stop that. And yes, they shoot each other. But you can stop them from brutalizing multiple people at once. That is what they are trying to stop since SandyHook Elementary.

He%%, I have a gun. Would I shoot someone breaking in? In a heartbeat. But I don't want or need an assault weapon to kill them. A bullet placed squarely in the head is all I need and I can hit what I am aiming at. I don't need to mow them down. It wouldn't make me feel any safer.

The second amendment isn't going to change with a limit on gun control....only going after assault weapons. I get really upset when people misrepresent that. It is as strong and important as it ever was.

Yes, I agree with you that the criminals will be the ones with the assault weapons, but for how long? The ammo will be unavailable as well. You won't be able to buy it. Not with the ban. How long before you cannot get it on the market anymore? You cannot pull it out of the sky.

You cannot buy the assault weapons, or the ammo and so much for the problem with them.

You are not losing a right, not at all. You still have your guns. You still have the right to bear arms, you still have the right to buy guns and rifles.

I guess I don't see the problem. Can you explain to me what the problem is?

safecracker2

Mama, I certainly don't have all the answers but I've whole-heartedly tried to grasp this debate, especially after Sandy Hook.
My opinions parallel with yours, but I believe the problem is bigger than just the guns. There are numerous factors involved that create the "Perfect Storm". With that being said, I am a firm supporter of my 2nd ammendment rights. But our Founding Fathers were packing muskets and cannons, not high capacity assault rifles with armor piercing bullets.
Most legal gun owners have weapons for two reasons. 1) To protect themselves, family, their home and property 2) Hunt for food. Either can be accomplished without an assault rifle.
Numerous U.S. Courts have upheld rulings that do not infringe on the 2nd Ammendment, but restrict who can legally posess firearms and the legal procedure of obtaining them and keeping them. This is why: "Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose" (Wiki).
I see some changes coming from the government. Hopefully they are logically thought out and middle of the road decisions. Banning the total right for law abiding citizens to protect themselves is not a solution. We all know that a disturbed person will get their hands on a gun, a bomb, a knife, a chemical weapon, or an airplane to carry out their plan.
Thanks for letting me reply. I enjoy reading your posts.

vicariouslyAlive

what you people are failing to realize is that "assault rifles" are already illegal in most places... and if they aren't illegal, you need special permits to acquire them... so by you people saying "assault weapons should be banned" only proves your ignorance of what's really happening... what you people are backing up is for the government to ban a falsely labeled item. fully automatic guns are what "assault weapons" really are. their only purpose is to create an assault. my ar-15 is a semi-automatic rifle, just like the one the guy used to shoot up that school. i attach a flashlight and hunt coyotes with it. i take the flashlight off and hunt woodchucks and rabbits with it. i also shoot at targets with it, one bullet per trigger pull, just like a pistol, just like a revolver, just like a shotgun, and just like the wooden rifles that seem to not be on anyones mind right now. before you guys start spouting off word vomit... become educated abut the topic first... and no, wikipedia is not an acceptable source... that's why most professors wont accept it as a cited source.

wiredmama222

I could comment on your "handle" which does worry me some, so I will leave it alone for a moment. I do understand the so called lingo you and your counterparts use in your defense of the weapons you use. I can't imagine shooting anything but since you hunt, more power to you....it's your choice. But like many, you are so upset and worried about the possiblity of losing your right to "semi-automatic" guns like your AR 15, you cannot see straight. Why is that? What difference does it make? Can't you shoot your rabbits and coyotes with a rifle just as easily? Or do you just enjoy the power you feel with that semi automatic? Is it some "vicarious" living thing in your life or a flash back to something? Or is it just the brute power you feel having it in your hand and knowing you could use it to blow something away quickly?

Using one gun or another shouldn't matter to you if it is just hunting, so a single shot gun should not be that bad.

But you and others seem so awfully fearful of giving up these semi- automatic guns, it has become a real problem. I think there is a LOT more to it than just hunting. I think the fear goes deeper than what you all tell. What fear do you really have? Fear of the government? Of others? Or just plain fear of something on which you cannot place your finger just yet?

Whatever the case, it seems many of these owners of the semi automatic weapons have the same ideas. They want to make sure that any of us who don't like them, make sure those of you who do understand we have NO chance of taking them away from you. Not the government, the law of any kind or the simple act of reason.

You have them and they are going to stay in your tightly gripped fists until you let go. Whatever your fear, it stays right there. We have all heard it a hundred times, in a hundred ways. Like a broken record.

And no, I don't think we will find the answer on Wikipedia, it isn't there. You won't find the answers either. (I never accepted it as reference sources for my students either).

luvblues2

You own a handgun, right wiredmama? It IS a semi-automatic. Every time you pull that trigger , another bullet comes out. That is the definition of "semi-automatic".

vicariouslyAlive

my username is derived from a song that warns against following the mass media where people only follow the news because it shows mainly tragedy... thought it would make for a very appropriat name...

does your name imply that you're wired on some sort of drug? hmm... doesnt feel good when people swing below the belt does it?

my ar-15 is a semi-automatic... it's also a rifle... 1 trigger pull, 1 bullet. yes, i could kill a coyote with a wooden rifle, but then i'd have to use the other hand to hold the flashlight... but i'd rather be safe and just mount it to my gun allowing me to hold onto my rifle with both hands... a bit smarter wouldnt you agree?

any gun, weather it be a shot gun, a rifle, or a pistol, if you pull the trigger once and only one bullet comes out and you can repeat this 1 for one action without having to manually activating the bolt, is a semi-auto... and yes, the make semi-auto shotguns as well... wheres the cry for banning them? hell... they make fully auto shot guns... but those aren't allowed in this state sadly... sounds like fun...

wiredmomma... like i advised you before... become a bit more educated about the topic that you wish to reply to less you look like the fool.

and oh god... you're a teacher? not to sound too harshly but i hope you keep more of an open mind in your classroom than you do on here... i bet you triumph Shakespeare for all of his works but blithely over look the fact that he was a very violent writer... i bet you're a god fearing person as well... but wasnt he the one that killed all of the first born of Egypt?

you can look through all of history and find any tool used properly and improperly... hammers kill... baseball bats kill.... so do knives, gold clubs, tire irons, some species of flowers, and a whole myriad of objects that also be couynterargued to serve a positive purpose.

and if it is true the you own a pistol... then you ma'am are one of those ignorant types that shouldnt own a gun if you can't even correctly classify the weapon you carry... just throwing that one out there... for having students i'd really expect someone in your position to have done their homework...

wiredmama222

Safecracker...I sure don't "let" anyone reply or stop them...LOL. Feel free and you sure as heck don't have to agree with me. Thanks for the nice words though. Made my day.

I totally agree with what you are saying about the mentally distrubed and what they can do. I kind of blame the internet for helping some of them do what they do as well. You can learn to make a bomb in your kitchen...scary thought. But they can. And yes, this world we live in has become a rough place. We don't know any more who is the "luny" and who is ok. It scares the heck out of me sometimes.

I own a gun, but not one of these "semi automatics" as I have been corrected to say.

I believe in the second amendment and the constitution. What I don't believe in is taking it to the max. I agree with just about everything you said on here and you said it very well.

I, too, see some changes coming. I just hope that the government and EVERYONE takes a big deep breath and relaxes a bit before doing anything. The NRA and the government need to step back a bit and let everyone relax before something really bad happens.

This climate right now is not healthy for anyone. Its too supercharged to make a big decision like this. Some breathing room is in order and I hope they take it. I sincerely do.

luvblues2

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luvblues2

AGAIN: You own a handgun, right wiredmama? It IS a semi-automatic. Every time you pull that trigger , another bullet comes out. That is the definition of "semi-automatic". That AR 15 is NO DIFFERENT than your handgun except it is probably better at target shooting because of the long barrel. And it looks meaner. Other than that, there is no difference. One trigger pull, one bullet.

safecracker2

Disagree. An AR-15 has the ability of handling a 60 round high capacity mag vs. a .45 capable of 15 (16 with one in the chamber). Quicker re-load time with plenty of bullets to keep on pulling the trigger. That's the difference Mama is getting at.

vicariouslyAlive

my 9mm has the capability of handling a double drum 100 round mag... and i bet i can blow through 4 15 round clips from my 9mm and transition from one to the next and so on faster than you could with an ar-15... smaller clips... smaller gun, easier to handle... i can also carry more slips per pocket with my 9mm walther... so you clip capacity argument doesnt hold water if you're only going after rifles there bud... there are dozens of different makes for the 30 round clip for my gun alone... there's dozens of clips for hundrends of handguns that allow for a large capacity... high cap mags aren't exclusively a rifle thing... look it up on youtube... a guy blows through 100 tracer rounds through his fully automatic glock... but the type of mag will also fit semi-auto glocks as well...

and really... not everyone wants a high cap mag... it puts too much stress on semi-autos because they arent meant to blow through rounds like that... the breaches get too hot and warp... thats why most of use that own these guns only use 10 round mags... keeps us from getting carried away and breaking our gun that costs thousands of dollars... food for thought.

John Harville

bigsexy... the entities who ignored the last gun ban were the gun manufacturers who modified their weapons to bring them in line.

KnuckleDragger

Read Dianne Feinsteins new assault weapons ban. It will outlaw all semi-automatic handguns. The majority of handguns sold for self-defense purposes are of the semi-auto variety. You still don't think they want to take away the law abiding citizens guns? By the way, don't you find it ironic that Feinstein has a CCW and carries a semi-auto pistol, but she wants to ban them from commoners like us. You can bet when the bill is completely finished it will exempt members of congress from its provisions just as the rest of them do. The fact is, they will not get any gun control legislation passed because they don't have enough votes for it. Obama wanted to rush this through because emotions were high at the time. It seems that gun control sentiment is now starting to wane again, so Obama is again trying to prey on emotions. You see emotions is all that gun control is about. There is not a single gun control law on the books that has been effective in stopping criminals with guns. The politicians know it.

mikel

wired, not taking away anything from your post. however, in most cases, where a person with a mental illness was the shooter, they have used someone else's weapon or obtained them illegally.

wiredmama222

I know, and the worst part of that is the stupid way some people who HAVE guns don't lock them up or protect them from just that problem.

I totally agree with you. Please read what I wrote to "vicariously alive". I did some online research yesterday. What an eye opening experience about all this over gun control that was.

Honestly, I don't think there is going to be a suitable answer that everyone will like. Not in this country. Someone won't like what this all leads to. There is just too much fear right now to make an honest and approachable solution to a HUGE problem.

I blame two sources for this: The Government and the NRA. Both are equally at fault. The knee jerk reaction to Sandy Hook was the first part with Obama making a promise to the parents of those children and the dispicable response of the NRA and its continued idiotic comments and actions.

If everyone would STOP, wait awhile and calm down a bit, maybe a better solution could be reached. But not right this minute. I can see that.

The only thing that makes sense right now is to get a better data base to include mental illness for background checks and put it into action and stop the person to person sales of guns....like gun shows. Other than that, the whole debate is for nothing. Not right now.

mikel

i read an interesting stat distributed by the fbi: in 2011 323 murders were committed with assualt type weapons and 496 murders were committed with a HAMMER! why aren't hammers being banned?

IKnowIambutWhat...

She'll be forever scarred for this, but thank God she can say she had the wherewithal to grab her gun and save the life of her and her children.

My hat's off to her husband as well. He stayed calm and made sure she did what she had to do.

sanduskysteve

Yes, that was a case of good deed - but do you think after wounding him and he has stopped trying to get to you - that further shooting is a little too much?? Did he have a gun? Don't you think that might have changed things a little maybe?? Shooting an unarmed burglar is a lot different than shooting someone who also has a gun and isn't afraid to use it. And she didn't kill him so he would have had plenty of opportunity to use a gun if he had one.

wiredmama222

Yes, she was very brave and protected her kids, but why call her husband instead of 911? That would have been my FIRST call. Then I would have shot him. I don't need my husband to tell me what to do when the gun is in my hand. I know that much. Get the kids safe, call 911 and shoot.

After adreneline kicks in, you probably would continue to shoot. Who knows, maybe she was just so scared by that time, she couldn't stop shooting. Or maybe he had trained her to shoot until the gun was empty, who knows for sure. Everyone reacts differently. Personally, I would have reserved some shells to make sure he was alone....just in case.

asweetnessabove

Actually wired, a lot of times if you call 911 they will advise not to shoot. I have heard it many of times. I'd rather have my husband on the phone reminding me as her husband did. Just my opinion, but I'd rather have the support of my husband rather than a dispatcher preventing me from protecting my family. And. Do not at all think she went overboard. You NEVER know what the burglar was capable of. I'd rather stop him in his tracks than look over my shoulder after one shot! Good for this mom!

beepx22

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

LabMan

Well said...especially the steve part

Seen it All

Get real steve! It takes how many SECONDS to empty a gun? Adrenaline rush, man vs woman and children? Seriously, you can't think she could or even SHOULD of stopped shooting once he was hit and didn't fall!

Hats off to this lady, I would of done the same thing! Except I would of been on the phone with 911, not my husband.

sanduskysteve

Hmmm how fast can you empty a gun? Adrenaline rush? Sounds like a real good argument for gun control to me. You guys continuously say that someone with a knife can do just as much damage - not sure I concur with your argument against gun control on that reasoning. But you gave a good reason FOR gun control. And who said the bad guy didn't stop after one shot? And no I'm not sure one shot would have been sufficient unless it killed the bad guy. Wiredmama gave a good argument for NOT emptying the gun - what if he had a friend there with him that ACTUALLY HAD A GUN? Or maybe there were more guns int he house and the friend found one of them? Now the bad guys have a gun too - and the mother is out of ammo. Another bad situation and the gun nuts would have been hollering about needing more guns - when in the end - more guns could have been a really bad thing in that case. Yes, I am speculating here - but so is everyone else, including Seen It All.

EdO's

Steve, what would you have done? Do you own a gun? Would you have become a statistic and/or your children harmed? Law enforcement cannot protect you or me from this kind of crime. Make your own decision and live with it.

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