By Jessica Parrott
Two Texas Tech University students, roommates Cole Guarisco and Hayden Hood, live on 28th Street, about three streets away from where a burglary occurred in October. During the burglary in the 3700 block of 28th Street, the suspect was shot in the abdomen by the homeowner.
The students said they would have reacted the same way if the burglary occurred at their home.
“We have guns in our house,” Guarisco, an industrial and manufacturing systems engineering major, said. “I feel that a gun gives someone protection when they can’t protect themselves otherwise.”
Guarisco said he and his roommates keep their guns out of sight, but that he does keep his loaded.
“If I felt my life was threatened, I would not hesitate to protect myself with a gun,” he said.
Hood, a finance major, said he too supports using guns for self and home defense.
“That’s why I have it,” Hood said. “Why would I have a gun if I would not use it on intruders?”
The burglary suspect, identified as Clayton Fillingim, was arrested and charged on Oct. 31.
Fillingim, who received no life-threatening injuries, was charged with burglary of a habitation with intent to commit a felony, according to a press release issued by the City of Lubbock Police Department.
The homeowner, a father of six, whose name was not released by police, says “he told the suspect to stop or he would shoot, but the suspect became more agitated and began approaching him until he could no longer back up,” according to the press release.
That was when he shot Fillingim.
Tiffany Pelt, the Lubbock Police Department public information officer said while the police department does not statistically track how often homeowners use or threaten to use a firearm against intruders, homeowners have every right to do so.
“It is a homeowner’s right to defend themselves and their property, and we occasionally see homeowners fight back against intruders,” Pelt said.
Ashley Augustus, a wine business major, lives less than a mile from the scene of the crime, and said she was not bothered by the homeowner’s use of a gun to defend his family.
“We do not have any guns in my house,” Augustus said. “But I feel that people have every right to defend their property as they wish to. Them having guns and protecting their homes in that way does not bother me one bit.”
While these students and homeowners are completely in their rights to defend their homes and property, as Pelt said, there are ways to prevent situations in which this would be required.
“Criminals are opportunists and look for easy targets,” Pelt said. “So take steps to prevent from becoming a victim.”
Some of the steps she mentioned include not leaving valuables in your car, locking your doors and investing in a home security system.
Even though the burglary occurred close to her home, Augustus said she is not scared to be living where she does because she takes these precautions.