Everyday Defense: Kick in a Door, Get Shot!

Two prison escapees thought they were going to make a clean break from a facility in a small southern town, but they kicked in the wrong door and faced the consequences.

Everyday Defense: Kick in a Door, Get Shot!

Photo: iStock

The city of Pickens, located in Pickens County, S.C., is a small, generally quiet city with a population near 3,000. Nearby is Table Rock State Park — a picturesque outdoor area with lakes, hiking trails and a lodge. Also nearby is the Pickens County Prison, a medium-security level facility.

In the early morning hours of December 4, 2018, inmates Bruce McLaughlin, Jr. and Timothy Dill executed a “premeditated” plan of escape. According to The New York Times, Pickens County Sheriff Rick Clark stated that two detention officers were assaulted in the process. Sheriff Clark explained to The Washington Post that the pair then broke through the chain-link fence that separates the prison grounds from the residents of the city of Pickens.

The escape may have been a surprise, but it wasn’t long before authorities apprehended Timothy Dill about half a mile from the facility. McLaughlin, however, had a different plan with a much different outcome.

Thirty-year-old McLaughlin had been in and out of prison since 2006 with charges including drug possession, assaulting a police officer and shoplifting. His latest stay in the jail stemmed from charges of first-degree burglary and grand larceny, but he escaped to embark on a new adventure — one that would be his last.

McLaughlin kept running and eventually found his target — the home of a female Pickens resident. Naturally, the door was locked, so he decided to kick his way inside. This in turn startled the homeowner, who was asleep in her bedroom. McLaughlin quickly found her, but she was ready. She fired one shot from her handgun that hit the man directly in the head. He died at the scene.

The woman, who did not wish to be identified by the media, had her concealed-carry permit and legally owned her gun. Police later held a press conference and, as reported in The New York Times, Sheriff Clark issued the following statement:

“I don’t want to get into the whole gun debate, but I do want people, especially in their own homes, to be able to defend themselves.”

Clark also said that he had given the woman a “big hug” and that he thinks “she’ll be an inspiration to a lot of other ladies.” He later clarified to CBS News that the attacker was a “big guy” and added, “If she hadn’t had a weapon, there’s no telling what could have happened. But she stopped the crime. She solved the crime for us, and she came out a winner. This lady took the time to get a [concealed weapons permit] and set herself up to protect herself, and not be harmed, raped or killed.”

No charges were filed by Pickens County. WSPA News 7 later reported that after the 13th Judicial Circuit Solicitor’s Office reviewed the details of the case, they released the following statement, “It is the opinion of this office that (Name Redacted) would be immune from prosecution for any charges relating to the shooting death of Bruce McLaughlin pursuant to Title 16, Article 6 of the S.C. Code of Laws, the Protection of Persons and Property Act. Her actions in this matter are a textbook example of what type of actions the Protection of Persons and Property Act seek to provide absolute criminal immunity for.”


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