Elderly Vietnam veteran kills home intruder who attacked his wife: ‘That guy picked the wrong house’

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AIKEN, SC — An armed intruder picked the wrong house to invade and paid a heavy price when he was severely beaten by an elderly Vietnam veteran protecting his wife who was slashed by the suspect’s knife.

The suspect, Harold Runnels, 61, forced his way into the home of 82-year-old Herbert Parrish and 79-year-old Lois Parrish.

Runnels knocked on the back door of the Parrish home around 2 p.m. on Feb. 15. When Lois opened it, Runnels asked if she had seen his dog. She told FOX 57:

“I opened the door and he said he was looking for his little white chihuahua and wanted to know if I saw it. I told him, no, I didn’t.”

Lois then tried to close the door, but Runnels suddenly forced his way into the house and allegedly pulled a large knife and began attacking Lois with the back handle of it.

Lois fell to the ground and injured her left index finger. Runnels used his knife to slice her face, according to FOX 57.

Harold told the news station he feared for their lives:

“I felt, we’re gone. He’s going to kill us and take what he can take.”

Herbert then sprang into action. He grabbed a shotgun that was mounted on a wall and beat Runnels with it until he fell to the ground and became unresponsive, according to WJBF-TV.

Harold said:

“I started hitting him in the head with the barrel and I know I must have hit him at least ten times right in the face, just as hard as I could hit him.”

Capt. Eric Abdullah of the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Herbert “was able to strike Mr. Runnels enough to the point where he fell to the floor still being conscious but unresponsive.”

Aiken County Coroner Darryl Ables confirmed Runnels died at the Augusta University Medical Center later Monday night from the injuries he sustained during the attack, according to FOX 57.

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Herbert and Lois recognized Runnels as someone they had seen in the neighborhood, according to FOX 13. WJBF-TV reported that Runnels lived in a nearby mobile home community.

Neighbor Jessica Clark told WJBF-TV:

“This street is normally not that crazy or anything and we all know each other and everything. I never would have expected it to happen here. And so I kinda feel like it puts a stain on this neighborhood in a way.”

Neighbors told the TV station they did not know the suspect and are shocked about the attempted home invasion. Clark said she was relieved to hear the victims were ok. She said Herbert is a decorated vet who fought in Vietnam:

“But when I heard they were able to fend off the suspect, I was so proud of them and I was like, ok, so that guy picked the wrong house.”

Capt. Abdullah said people need to be careful when opening their doors to strangers. In a statement, the captain said:

“We would encourage anyone who encounters suspects that are attempting to unlawfully enter their home, call for immediate help. It is best to get help on the way and give as many details as possible on the suspect(s) as well as reporting the actions of the suspect.”

Clark said that while she used to feel comfortable leaving the doors to her home open, she will now keep them locked:

“You know, it does give us a little bit of paranoia and stuff. I was actually with my sister, helping her that day when it happened.

“And so, I was like, man, what if they would have picked my place? And so that was a little scary for me.”

Runnels’ motive is unknown. His body will be sent to Newberry for an autopsy and toxicology report.

The Aiken County Sheriff’s Office said there will be no charges filed against the victims. While the couple was injured, they are expected to fully recover.

Last month, Law Enforcement Today reported on another home invasion attack on senior citizens. Here is that report.

ORANGE COUNTY, FL — Deputies in Orange County, Florida are asking for the public’s help in identifying a group of armed suspects linked to a terrifying home invasion. 

Part of the frightening incident was caught on “Ring” doorbell footage that was released by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. 

The video, which captured the incident that took place just after 2:30 a.m. on Thursday, January 21st, shows several individuals dressed in dark clothing with their faces concealed forcing their way into a home.

The four suspects, who all appear to be carrying guns are seen kicking and throwing their bodies against the door until they are finally able to gain entry. 

Once inside the residence on Giant Oak Lane in the Lockhart area of West Orange County, the suspects forced the elderly victims to the ground while shouting at them, before searching the home according to police.

The suspects then fled in an unknown car ABC 9 reported. Thankfully there were no injuries. 

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department released the video of the incident on Twitter with a report reading:

EXPLICIT LANGUAGE: This morning, OCSO responded to Giant Oak Ln (West OC) for a home invasion. The suspects yelled “OPD, police! Sheriff’s Office” and forced their way in. They ordered the elderly victims to the ground and searched the home. If you have info, call @CrimelineFL

Anyone with information that might help deputies identify the suspects is asked to call CRIMELINE AT (800) 423-8477.

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