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.




We already know what steve would have done. He would have cowered in a a corner and begged the bad man not hurt him or his children. Steve would have rather seen his wife sexually assaulted and his children murdered than to harm one hair on that poor misunderstood criminals head.


First, let me make something clear - I never said that bad guy should not have been shot. I never said the mother should not have protected her kids. I think the whole thing was done poorly - JUST IN CASE. If you guys read all that I say instead of just want you want to in order to try and make a case against me, then you would see what I really think. Also, a hunting rifle would have done just was well in this case as the handgun, which was emptied on one suspect - when there could have been more waiting outside. Then what would she have done. This guy, according to the police, had already entered another home and actually ran off when he discovered someone was at home. I realize that this mother didn't know that and so actually did the right thing. I'm sure though, he would have ran for the hills after he found out she had a gun and wasn't afraid to use it. Also, I have to agree that 911 should have been talking to the mother who was in danger - not relaying things thru her husband. Besides the fact, that it took longer for the cops to arrive because she did the wrong thing and called her husband first. That few minutes of delay could have made a difference if there were more bad guys either in the house or outside waiting.


steve... that depends on how seriously she injured the man by shooting him... she was hiding, so she obviously had the element of surprise. but... IF the man would have had a gun and she shot at him and he shot at her and everyone died... at least she was able to try to do something about it... trust me... if someone was breaking into my house with a crow bar or pipe to break the window, i'd sure as hell keep shooting until the person stopped... because what IF they have a gun? im not going to give them a chance to pull it out... im going to shoot until they stop moving. how did she know he didnt have a gun? do you think it would have been smart of here to ask the burglar "hey good sir, you wouldnt happen to have a gun on you while you're breaking into my home?" and then if he did would that make it ok for her to do something?

get real steve... you're pulling at strings that don't exist nor make sense... once someone breaks into someone else's house... words like "excessive" and "possibility" go out the window, especially when children are involved. god help the poor soul that tries to break into my house while my child is sleeping.


She couldn't have injured him that badly if he got back in his SUV and drove off a few blocks and into the woods. But I see Steve's point.

People react differently in different situations and no two people react the same. Until you are in that situation for real, no one knows how they would react. I hope I would have the forethought to reserve a few shots in case he wasn't alone. Just a thought.


Read all of my posts - I did not say she should have stopped shooting him as long as he was still a threat and coming after her and the kids. But the article doesn't say he kept coming after the first couple of shots. she should have used one shot to the head and he would have stopped. And I know that most likely wasn't a possibility there. I agree with your first few sentences, but the rest is still up for discussion and there are no facts to indicate the answers to those issues just yet.

Phil Packer

You mean to tell me, that 911 was called and the police were on their way, yet this guy goes to the upstairs of this big house and right to her hiding place in the crawl space? Why? This sounds like a complete fabrication. Seriously, think about it...


The guy heard something. Have you ever tried to keep young children quiet. She had to shoot him. He went looking for the sound that he heard instead of just leaving. Just my opinion and not based on facts.


The Second Amendment to The U.S. Constitution:

"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

If the Washington kleptocrats wanna change it, our Founders gave us a method and process of "amending" the Constitution.

The Bill of Rights deals with "individual rights," NOT collective ones.

Read the other nine - they all deal with the individual.

John Harville

Contango... REALLY? Heard of Shay's Rebellion in 1787 and Gen. Washington's concern the government could not protect citizens? One of the main reasons for the Philadelphia Convention which became the Constitutional Convention. As president, Washington pushed for the 2nd to establish the state militias which, by the Constitution, are under the control of the Commander in Chief.
Heard of the Whiskey Rebellion of 1791? Washington ordered in the well-regulated Mililtias of four states and, in 1794, led 13,000 armed militiamen into Western Pennsylvania to put down the citizen attack on the US Government.
The wellp-reguilated state militias - aka National Guard - remain under command of the President.
Heard of the Whisky Rebellion.

Second Opinion

The Whiskey Rebellion was not by well respected citizens, don't distort the facts, they were law breakers.

If the tables were turned Washington would have taken up arms against a tyrant government just like we today have the same right.

This SQUATTER in the White House is doing everything possible to destroy our Constitution.

Piers MORON mocked our Constitution by calling it Americans "Little book" Four generations of my family DIED for this 'LITTLE BOOK", and one died in France in defense of this coward Piers and is buried in Normandy.
And why not mention the fact that we heard about the Civil War, where the Constitutional Convention PERMITTED succession from the Union and your grand Federal Govt through Lincoln threatened the Supreme Court with imprisonment if they didn't keep their mouths shut.

It would be nice if you remembered Jefferson's quotations and warnings instead of picking out of a barrel things that you desire to manipulate.


"Piers MORON"? You mean Piers Morgan?
"You're An Unbelievably STUPID Man Aren't You!" Piers Morgan To Pro-Gun Guest

This Piers Morgan is an idiot. If he cannot debate, then he calls people names.


Hmmm, the Whiskey Rebellion instigated by Alexander Hamilton and the Federalists. Imposition of a new tax on homebrew didn't set well with entrepeneurs, being taxed 28% on a 50cent gallon of whiskey for east of the allegheny mountains consumption didn't sit well with entrepeneurs. Those nasty rebels tarred and feathered s few taxmen so George Washington a successful distiller in his own right sent the militia to Pa. Defended by the Mingo Creek militia of about 1,000 men. Nothing happened 4 rebels were killed, two civilians were killed and on of Washington's men were killed. Question, where was Washington's militia when Massy White and her children were massacred by indians as well as the Russ family massacre to name a few. Guess what people when the anti-federalist Thomas Jefferson was elected, the tax went away!!!!! Imagine people getting upset over petulant taxation!!!!


What is the real debate here? No one has ever suggested she acted improperly by defending herself and her family. The present gun debate is not about being able to protect yourself. We all have the right to do that, especially in our own home. There is no attempt anywhere to "take" your guns. That argument is absurd. Comparing this situation to the mass shootings is even more absurd. One has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with the other. Some of you just like to type I guess!


@ deertracker:

Go peddle that "there is no attempt anywhere to take your guns" tripe in the liberal-Progressive "paradise" of Chicago and IL.

There have been several instances over the yrs. where individuals with handguns who Constitutionally protected themselves from intruders had them confiscated!

In IL, ya need a FOID card to even look at a gun in a gun shop.


You got a link for that?


@ deertracker:

You write that my links are crap and now you want one? Do your own research.

One I remember reading about was a 90 yr. old black guy who killed one intruder and held off two others and the cops confiscated his weapon!

Remember: Ownership of a handgun is/was illegal in Chicago. There are NO gun shops in Chicago.


The one I read had to do with an 81 year old man and only one intruder, so not sure if I'm referring to the same one. In that case, the elderly man was previously convicted of a felony, and a previous charge of unlawful possessing a gun and could not legally own a firearm under the Gun Control Act. That explains why his gun was confiscated. He was charged with illegally having a firearm in the intruder incident, but the charges were later dropped. The way the Act is written, they legally could not return the gun to him. He says he'll probably just go out and buy another one.


Maybe just maybe if guns were illegal that is why it was confiscated. I could care less about Il. since I live in Ohio. As usual you are WAY off topic. Americans have the right to bear arms. Period. However, there's no effort out there to change that. What is so wrong with trying to make things safer?


well since you mentioned safety, the guns they are trying to regulate and get rid of were used in less murders than hammers and clubs in 2011. probably holds true in 2012 too, though those numbers aren't out. rifles of any sort are rarely used in crimes.


@ deertracker:

So you think living in OH will protect gun owners? :)

Ever notice how gun grabbing liberal-Progressives tend to think alike?

The IL politicos want a state law requiring ALL firearm sales and/or exchanges be reported even between individuals.

U.S. Senator Durbin is involved. Oops!

Pres. Obama signed the NDAA which allows for the indefinite detention of terrorists without due process!

And THEY get to define what a "terrorist" is.

Keep accepting the stripping of your freedoms by the Washington kleptocrats.


Yaaawwwn !

The Bizness

I have no problem with people having guns on them...just don't hurt me and I respect your choice.


If you are not trying to kill or cause serious bodily harm to either myself or my family, then you have nothing to worry about. In fact you likely would never know I was carrying unless I told you.

Second Opinion

Obama is a LIAR and a TRAITOR, period. He signed an executive order which provides 24/7 armed protection for him for life but while Senator he voted down a bill that allowed a woman to own a gun to protect herself IN HER OWN HOME.

Anyone who voted for this SQUATTER needs to have their heads checked out, only a fool can't see what this traitor is determined to do to this county.


Give it a break.


If ANYTHING from that site can be believed-- here's how that article starts:
"As a state senator in Illinois..."
Take a chill pill.


Hmmm - so Obama had to sign an executive order to get 24/7 protection for life???? I'm so very confused about your source for this one... Are you not informed about government at all? Has FNC and Rush, Beck, Hannity and the gang never informed you of anything? Did you not know that all Presidents current and past have 24/7 protection for life?? Even many other ex-government higer-ups enjoy this privilege.. This is NOT new and Obama did not create it! I'm also not sure that Obama had any control over who gets to own a gun as long as they can legally do so under the law. Since when were women told they can't own a gun because they are a woman? As for the article that you posted - it appears to be a site that is operated by the GOP and republicans - so it doesn't hold much water for me. But - it doees appear that Obama is for gun control - I think everyone is or should be for gun control. Even the second amendment (in case you guys who love to quote it never actually read your quotes) states that the right should be "well-regulated". If you want to believe that the militia referred is you individually - then YOU should be well-regulated. It's in the amendment - I didn't make that up. The article is suspect at best - and there is still nothing at all done by Obama or on his behalf that signifies he is going to come and take your precious gun away - maybe a gun you shouldn't have and don't have a really good need for - but not a gun for your protection of your home and family or hunting for food.


ACTUALLY sanduskysteve, perhaps YOU should do a little research you would know that the bill reverses a previous law that limited Secret Service protection for former presidents and their families to 10 years if they served after 1997.

Maybe you should know what you are talking about before you spout off about anything else.


@wiredmamma222 "A bullet placed squarely in the head is all I need and I can hit what I am aiming at". I think your mistaken if you think thats how it would happen. For one with adrenaline pumping and everything else ....slim chance you will get a head shot. Second..... In that type of situation, if you think your going to have time to aim your also mistaken. On top of that most situations that involve a gun, especially when it comes to someone breaking in your home...... most of the time will be within arms length. So you might want to rethink that plan.

The Big Dog's back

In Alaska 94% of adults have weapons, yet Alaska's violent crime rate is higher than the national average. Explain righties.