'I have the right to protect myself:' Washington man shoots, kills suspected home burglar

A resident shot and killed a home intruder in Spanaway early Thursday, and a second suspect escaped, according to the Pierce County Sheriff's Department.

Deputies said the 31-year-old resident, Jerahme Smith, shot at two men who tried to break into his house near A St. E. and 165th St. E. around 4:00 a.m.

The homeowner told police he shot at the suspects as they kicked in his back door. The intruders then ran into the front yard where deputies later found one of the suspects dead. The other suspect ran off.

Smith said he has been renting the home with his wife and children for the past three years. Smith explained he and his sister were in the house when the suspects kicked down the back door. Smith said he acted in self-defense.

"When everything first started, the first thing I had to do was take a few breaths and calm myself down because I knew it could have gone one of two ways. I didn’t know who they were, I didn’t know what they had, but the first thing I did--and it’s the honest to God truth--is I took a few breaths to myself. That way I knew I was calm enough to make a proper judgment decision," said Smith.

Investigators have not released any further information about the suspects but said that the man who died was 24-years-old.

While detectives continue investigating the case, Smith said he will continue standing by his actions.

"It kind of goes back to your rights. I have the right to carry and I have the right to protect myself and I have the right to protect my property," said Smith. "Protect yourself. That doesn’t mean go looking for it, that means just be ready."

People who live in the area said crime has been increasing in the neighborhood. One man said he recently bought security lights and a surveillance camera to help protect his home.

"If it ain’t one thing it’s another," said the man, who asked to keep his identity private. "That kind of upsets me that we have this kind of crime going on in the neighborhood. It’s not a good feeling because we don’t know—it could be something happening tomorrow, tonight, you know? Same ol’ thing."

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