82-Year-Old Veteran Kills Home Intruder Who Attacked His Wife

82-Year-Old Veteran Kills Home Intruder Who Attacked His Wife

The couple then revealed that they had noticed the man walking in their neighborhood a few times before but didn't know why he attacked them.

Image Source: Getty Images/PeopleImages

In most cases, the elderly fall prey to robbery and other similar crimes because people think they're too weak to defend themselves. But sometimes that's not the case. One elderly couple from South Carolina recently proved that age is really just a number as they bravely defended themselves against an armed home intruder. Herbert Parrish, 82, and his wife Lois, 79, were minding their own business on Monday when they heard someone knocking on their back door at around 2 p.m.



"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," said Lois to ABC 4 News. The conversation should have ended there, but the man, identified as 61-year-old Harold Runnels, decided to force his way into the house when Lois was trying to close the door. Things got out of control when the intruder pulled out a large knife and started attacking Lois, according to the police report. He delivered blows to the couple using the knife's handle, hitting Lois on her forehead, as per Fox 57. Lois's husband, a Vietnam veteran, was sure they wouldn't make it through the attack.



"I felt, we’re gone. He’s going to kill us and take what he can take," said Herbert. However, the 82-year-old wasn't willing to bid farewell this way and fought back instead. "He was not going to go out that door and leave us alive. That’s the way I felt. That’s why I said, I’ve got to do something quick and get the edge on him. Get the advantage on him," said he. Herbert acted swiftly, which led to him grabbing a shotgun that was hanging on their wall as decor. He then repeatedly hit the intruder with the handle of his weapon until Harold was unconscious. It was basic instinct. 



"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," said the veteran. ″[The victim] was able to strike Mr. Runnels enough to the point where he fell to the floor still being conscious but unresponsive,” the report states. When the police arrived at the scene, the suspect was bloody and unconscious, according to the Associated Press. The couple then revealed that they had noticed the man walking in their neighborhood a few times before but didn't know why he attacked them. The intruder was taken to the hospital, where he passed away from his injuries later.



Aiken County Coroner Darryl Ables confirmed Harold Runnels died at the Augusta University Medical Center, on the night of February 15, from the injuries he sustained during the attack. Lois and Herbert, who were also injured in the attack, are both expected to make a full recovery. One of the neighbors Jessica Clark was told WJFB, "This street is normally not that crazy or anything and we all know each other and everything." She added, "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. 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. Eric Abdullah of the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office said that people must be careful when they open their door to strangers. “Of course, folks have the right to defend themselves if their lives are in danger, but the best thing to do is to call for help,” Abdullah told the Standard. “Every situation is going to be different. It may be a similar crime in nature, but every situation is going to be different. There’s no way to accurately predict exactly what actions that any person should take if somebody is trying to invade their home. The best recourse is to think smartly and get help on the way.”




Recommended for you