Firearms Owners Against Crime

Institute for Legal, Legislative and Educational Action

Wanted man shot by armed citizen after breaking into Pennsylvania home :: 09/04/2023

A man already wanted by authorities for a felony burglar charge is now in custody thanks to an armed and alert homeowner in Butler County, Pennsylvania.

Police in the western Pennsylvania county were originally called out to the home in the city of Butler Wednesday afternoon on a report of a burglary in progress, but before they arrived dispatchers alerted them to shots fired. Once they arrived at the residence, officers found one of the homeowners holding the suspect at gunpoint, with the suspect himself suffering from a non-life-threatening injury.

Police said [Nathan] Harvey entered the house through a locked basement door. The residents, a male and female, didn’t know him.

The male resident told police he warned Harvey repeatedly to leave as well as fired a warning shot. Harvey wasn’t deterred.

The resident then shot Harvey once in the abdomen.

Harvey was removed from the house and taken to Butler Hospital for a graze gunshot wound. He also was held for observation for an unrelated issue.

According to police, Harvey was wanted by the Butler County Sheriff’s Office at the time of the burglary.

Local media report that the homeowner isn’t expected to face charges, which doesn’t surprise me. Harvey not only allegedly broke into the home but refused to leave even after he’d been repeatedly warned by the resident to get out.

I’m not in favor of “warning shots”, which in some circumstances can lead to charges against armed citizens, but in this case, it appears that police are rightfully putting the onus where it belongs; on the wanted man, not the homeowner, who says he didn’t want to kill the intruder.

“He’s another guy who’s probably having a hard time in his life,” said Jeremy Cox. “He could have people that love him and want to help him.”

At about 5 p.m. Wednesday night, Cox said he and his girlfriend were eating pizza and getting ready to watch a movie in their Butler home when they heard what sounded like a “bang” come from the basement.

“We started walking down the stairs,” Cox said. “Then, we saw him pushing his way through the door.”

Cox said he and his girlfriend ran upstairs. His girlfriend picked up the phone to call 911 and Cox went to grab his .40 caliber gun.

“I asked him to leave,” Cox said. “I asked to see his hands.”

Cox said the intruder complied with his initial demands, but that soon his body language appeared aggressive.

“He proceeded to act angry towards me because I wasn’t helping him,” Cox said. “He started moving forward.”

Cox said he fired a warning shot near the intruder, but that it did not deter him.

“It didn’t scare him,” Cox said. “He kept coming forward at me. I shot him and wounded him.”

I generally think of burglaries as a crime that takes place in the darkness of night, not the afternoon sunlight, but Harvey told Cox he was trying to hide from police and I guess he picked the closest house he could find, not realizing that the homeowners were armed and prepared to protect themselves.

Regardless of the circumstances, Harvey will soon be back behind bars, while Cox and his wife emerged unscathed from their encounter with the unwanted intruder. That’s a happy ending as far as I’m concerned, and I hope that Harvey takes advantage of the new lease on life he’s been given and can turn his life around. At the very least, I doubt he’ll be paying the Cox home another visit anytime soon.

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