Where Do I Start?

A True Story About Home Invasion: Would You Be Ready?

susan gonzalesphoto for well armed womenBy Susan M. Gonzalez

My husband occasionally hunted and had guns in our home. I was scared of guns because I had never been taught much about them. Through the years, anytime that my husband was going to be gone overnight he would pull out a handgun and show me what to do in case I needed it for protection. I hoped that he would just hurry up and put it away, I WAS NEVER GOING TO NEED IT.

As our children became teenagers, I asked my husband to place gunlocks on all of his guns. You know, with all the horror stories you hear about kids and guns. We had several arguments about the gunlocks but I finally won. The only time that the gunlocks would be off was if he was going to be gone overnight. I agreed to that.

On August 2nd, 1997, my son Justin was supposed to be home at 12:00 A.M. At about 11:30, I called his phone to make sure he would be home on time because I was ready to go to bed. He was at a friend’s home playing videogames and asked to stay out until 1:00 A.M. I agreed, but told him he must be home by 1:00, no later.

At 12:40 A.M. I heard the doorknob jiggle. I got up and started towards the door, thinking it was Justin. I had looked at the clock because I thought, wow he’s home early. I stopped before I got to the door because I did not hear him set his alarm on his car. I heard a loud noise. My door was kicked in. I heard someone scream, “Get down Ma’am” or “Lay down Ma’am.” I was so scared that all I could think was to get to the bedroom where my husband Mike was sleeping. I ran, screaming for my husband.

I made it to the bedroom and tried to close and hold the door to keep the intruders out. It never closed all the way but enough so that they could not come through it. I was screaming as my husband ran over and the door broke in half over my body. I do not remember if they shot through the door before it broke or if they shot after it broke. But I know that I took a 9MM bullet to the chest. We still do not know if Mike was shot once at this time because he does not remember. Mike began pushing them out of the bedroom and I guess he was trying to push them out of our home. They were hitting him and fighting him because he was fighting for his life.

I called 911 and told them our address and that we were being shot. I hung up the phone. I could still hear them fighting in the living room. I thought about the gun that was within my reach. Thankfully the gunlock was not on the gun, since Mike had been gone overnight the night before. I grabbed the gun and did what Mike had always showed me. I cocked it and I took the safety off. I thought, if I run out and shoot, I will shoot Mike. Then I thought, if I run out and shoot over their heads, they will run and everything will be okay.

I ran out and shot two bullets. They didn’t run away. One of the intruders ran after me, as I ran to the bedroom for cover. I turned to fire at him, but he did not follow me into the room. I waited a few seconds to see what he was going to do. I peeked out the bedroom door and I could see his arm and the gun but he could not see me. He was waiting to shoot me again when I ran out. What he did not know was that I could slide against the wall, run through the dining room and back into the living room. This put his back to me. I opened fire with the gun that I did not think I would ever need. I turned to look at the intruder who was still fighting with my husband, and to my horror, he placed the gun against the side of my husband and fired. I tried to fire my gun but I was out of bullets. As I turned to run, he started firing at me, and one of the many shots he fired, hit me in my chest again. I made it to safety in the bedroom.

I didn’t hear anything for a moment and thought that maybe they finally left. All of the sudden I heard one of them scream at my husband, “Where are the f——- keys to the truck?” Mike answered, “In the bedroom, on the gun cabinet, in my hat.” At least Mike was alive. But now the intruder was heading back to the room that I was in. He paused at the door of the dark room and screamed, “Where are you?” I was about six feet in front of him but he could not see me. I did not say anything, hoping he would leave. He put the light on and stuck a shotgun to my temple. He screamed, “Where are the f——- keys to the truck?” As I was trying to get the keys he screamed, “Have you called 911?” I lied and said no, hoping he would leave and the police would catch him outside.

Where were the police? It took 14 minutes for the police to arrive. I am not holding this against the police; just pointing out that it only takes seconds to be shot and it takes minutes for the police to arrive. It is over before they can help you. The intruders were already gone. The one that I shot made it to my yard and died from the two gunshot wounds that I inflicted from the gun that I did not like, but used to save my life and the life of my husband. His friend ran over him with our truck when he was trying to leave. We are not sure if this was an accident or if he ran over him to make sure he could not talk to the police.

I won’t go into the horror after the shooting of a month in the hospital, lung surgery, scars that will never go away, the death threats, the trial, the nightmares, and the fact that I had to take a human life. But I will tell you that if you read this story and still choose not to take action to protect your own life then you should not expect anyone else to take action to protect your life either. If we do not stand up for our Second Amendment rights to own and use guns for our own self-protection, then you should expect the criminals in our society to win.

Since this home invasion, I have received my conceal carry permit and carry at all times. I practice with my weapon to make sure I hit my mark in case I have to protect myself or someone else. I hope after reading my story that you will be ready if it happens to you. Remember I WAS NEVER GOING TO NEED IT. I would rather not need it, than need it and not have it.

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