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Bungling burglar meets armed homeowner

Joe King surprised a burglar and exchanged gunfire. Joe King surprised a burglar and exchanged gunfire.

Joe King knew something wasn’t right when he arrived home after dark on a Friday night to find a strange pickup truck in his driveway.

“I came home and that door on that motorhome was open,” King said Sunday, 10 days after the Feb. 12 burglary. “Somebody had been through it and taken stuff out of it.”
King stayed in his car and drove a little further.
“I pulled around there and shined the light toward the barn and then I pulled up in the yard,” he said. “He was walkin’ down through the yard. I said, ‘What’s going on?’ He said, ‘I locked my keys in my truck.’ His truck was backed up right over there. You can see the glass where he shot the window out.”
Shooting the truck window out gets ahead of the story.
King, who does drainage and grading work, was still trying to interrogate the trespasser, a 32-year-old man in a gray sweatshirt.
“I said, ‘What was you doing here?’ And he said, ‘Oh, I come to see about some grading.’ So I said, ‘Were you in that motorhome out there?’ and he said, ‘Oh, no I wouldn’t do that.’ He said, ‘I’ve got to go see if I can get somebody to help me get in my truck.’
“And I said, ‘I don’t believe you need to leave right yet,’ and I pulled my cellphone out. I was going to call the sheriff’s department, and he reached in the car and grabbed my cell phone and throwed it over there right above that boat.”
“Then he pulled a gun on me, which happened to be my gun, that he got from under my bed,” he said. “So I knew it was loaded. And he stuck it in the car window and was backing up and he said, ‘I’ll shoot you. I’ll shoot you.’ And then he run around behind the car and headed out the driveway.”
In a very short time, King had gone from mildly puzzled to concerned to outraged. He did not like being threatened with his own gun.
“By the time I got out of my car and got my gun I just pointed in the direction he went and unloaded the damn thing toward him. Of course, he’d take a whole lot more now, because there’s 16 in this one,” he said, patting a silver-handled 9-mm Smith & Wesson holstered on his right hip. “We found three empty hulls on top of the car. I think I shot four times, and he shot one time. I don’t know what he was a’shootin’ at. I guess at me.”

'Son of a b---- is shooting at me again'

King thought that might be the last of the brazen burglar. But because the thief had managed to lock his keys in his get-away truck, he hung around. If the whole situation wasn’t potentially deadly, it might have been funny.
“So I went inside and got the house phone and called the sheriff department,” he said. “But I didn’t go get another gun. I had 12-gauge sittin’ right here. That’s what I was huntin’ — a 12-gauge pump and it was loaded. He had already put that in his truck.”
Meanwhile, the bungling burglar was back.
“He tried to beat the window out with a flashlight,” King said. “That was mine, that he broke. He couldn’t do that so he shot the window out.” King didn’t know until later what the shooting was about. “I was on the phone with the sheriff’s department and I said, ‘the son of a b--- is shooting at me again.’
“He reached in the car and got something, then he took off up through there. He wouldn’t come to this side because he knew I’d kill him. I didn’t have no bullets then but he didn’t know that. I’d take this oxygen bottle upside his head,” added King, who is 69 and uses an oxygen tank because he has bad emphysema.
The burglar ran away and deputies never found him that night. They had his truck, though, and identified the owner as Joshua James Quisenberry, of 305 Gypsy Lane. Two days later, on a Sunday night, deputies picked him up on a domestic violence charge. They also booked him for robbery with a dangerous weapon, felony larceny, second-degree burglary, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and possession of firearm in violation of domestic violence order. He remains jailed on a $575,000 bond.

Sheriff: ‘Understand when and when not to use it’

Sheriff Charlie McDonald, a strong Second Amendment advocate, said while King was within his right to protect himself, not everyone is prepared and trained for a gunfight.
“At a point like that, when a citizen feels like he’s been threatened, he certainly has the right to protect himself,” McDonald said. “Short of threatening to shoot him, you can’t really shoot him for taking your stuff.
“Same as law enforcement. If people make you mad or do things wrong you can’t shoot him except in a use-of-force situation. He’d stolen his guns and threatened to shoot him from what I heard,” he added, which would justify King’s response.
“I always encourage folks to be able to protect themselves,” the sheriff said. “I’m certainly pro-people carrying, within the legal limits of the law, but I would always tell folks if you’re going to carry make sure you’re proficient, you’re firearms skilled and that you know and understand fully the laws of deadly force.
“I’ve heard where folks in other places have brought deadly force into play when it wasn’t really justified,” he said. “I think what happens is a lot of people get caught up in getting the permit and getting the weapon and carrying and are not properly prepared for when and when not to use it….
“I tell people all the time, by all means get a gun, if you’re comfortable doing that, but make sure that you stay proficient and you understand when you can and when you can’t use it.”

' He would've killed me'

quisenberry picJoshua James QuisenberryKing, who has a conceal-carry permit, is short two guns now since deputies seized as evidence the 9-mm Glock he used to shoot at Quisenberry and the .22-caliber pistol he says Quisenberry fired at him.
“He would’ve come back here and killed me if I hadn’t shot at him,” King said. “I have no doubt that I’d be dead today if I hadn’t pulled that gun and shot at him. … When he pulled the gun on me and told me he’d shoot me, that give me every right to blow his brains out right there.”
Deputies “didn’t question me” about whether he was within his right, he said. “He was on my land with my stuff and had been in my house and everything and pulled a gun on me.”
All things considered, King says, the scary night ended well. The thief had vanished in the woods but his pickup —keys still locked inside — sat in King’s driveway, loaded with stolen goods.
“They had a wrecker come load up his truck,” King said with a grin. “Now the county owns his truck and I got my sh-- back.”