LESSONS LEARNED: A Tale of Two Home Invasions

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Full length of burglar with flashlight and crowbar in office corridor

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At a recent Guns Save Life meeting, a retired Illinois State Trooper talked about a couple of home invasion cases with very different outcomes. He shared publicly-available information, offering important lessons gun owners can take from the facts of the cases.

First, he talked about a shots-fired home invasion in the town of Streator on the day after Christmas last year.

In that case, Austin Adamchak, 23, forced entry on the home of his ex-girlfriend intent on beating her new boyfriend. What isn’t as well-known is that Mr. Adamchak had pulled the same stunt about 30 days earlier. In that instance, he seriously beat the new boyfriend.  For whatever reason, despite a felony warrant, Livingston County didn’t take Adamchak into custody after the first home invasion.

Meanwhile, the new boyfriend learned an important lesson after the first beat-down. When Mr. Adamchak returned the second time and forced entry, the now slightly older and definitely wiser boyfriend used a gun to punch Adamchak’s ticket. Permanently.

Contrast that situation with what happened about 15 years ago at the Rick and Ruth Gee home about an hour south.

In that case, a Christopher Harris went to his ex-wife’s parents’ house where she was living. He wanted to re-kindle their relationship. The ex-wife wasn’t at home, but her parents and her younger siblings were.

Drunk and high, Harris climbed into the 16-year-old special needs daughter’s bedroom through the window. He was in the midst of sexually assaulting the girl when the couple’s 14-year-old son confronted him.  The son put up a courageous fight against a man well over twice his age and size.

Harris, who brought along a tire iron, beat the 14-year-old to death. Then, in a tremendously chaotic scene, he proceeded to kill the rest of the family, one at at time, with the tire iron.

Rick Gee, reportedly a man of slight stature, didn’t believe in guns or violence.  The trooper noted that it seemed as though the 14-year-old son put up the greatest resistance to the intruder’s homicidal attack upon the family.

In the end, Rick and Ruth Gee were killed, along with their 11- and 14-year-old sons and 16-year-old daughter. Their three-year-old daughter survived, but barely.  Meanwhile, Harris spends his days in nearby Pontiac maximum security prison.

“If they had a gun, it might have turned out very differently,” Vagasky noted.

The retired trooper urged folks to embrace firearm ownership to defend themselves both in public and at home. In the case of burglars, he advised that you shouldn’t shoot unless you’re threatened with death or great bodily injury. Obviously someone trying to molest a child fits the “great bodily injury” category.

On the other hand, if they’re stealing your TV, he advised to let them go.

The other bit of advice he offered: make sure you have self-defense insurance. That kid who shot the ex-boyfriend repeat intruder in Streator may very well be sued for killing his attacker.  Obviously the suit would likely be tossed, but lawyers aren’t cheap and getting to that point could take time and thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees.

The takeaway was that sometimes those who eschew the proven benefits of firearm ownership sometimes have to live (or die) with the consequences of their beliefs.

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