It’s difficult to imagine that someone could be so harmless as to use violence against the feeble and elderly. Such was the case with two armed intruders who broke into the home of a 73-year-old North Carolina woman named Linda Ellis. Incredibly, a hero arose in the most unlikely of candidates.
Around 1 a.m., Goldsboro police responded to a call concerning a shooting on William Street. The residence belonged to Ellis, a beloved grandmother. When officers arrived at the scene, they discovered Ellis suffering from a gunshot wound. However, her condition could have been much worse if not for her young grandson.
The pair of armed robbers had forced their way into the residence after Ellis’ son answered the door and was pushed to the ground, WTVD reported. The men then confronted Ellis and demanded that she hand over her money. Despite her helpless condition, one of the intruders shot the elderly woman in the leg.
With his grandmother seriously injured and his great-uncle defenseless, the woman’s 12-year-old grandson decided to act. Police say the boy retrieved a firearm, pointed the gun at one of the robbers, and fired. The round hit the suspect identified as 19-year-old Khalil Herring, who later died from his injuries.
“Preliminary evidence suggest Khalil Herring was one of the two masked intruders and was shot during the robbery,” officials said in a statement. “A 12-year-old juvenile occupant of the residence shot at the suspects with a firearm in self-defense, causing them to flee the area.”
Goldsboro police confirmed that the 12-year-old boy fired the gun but added that they were not anticipating charges being brought against him as authorities were still carrying out the investigation.
“They came in the house, I open the door, I open it, and they came in there…. One guy had a gun. They just put me down on the ground,” Randolph Bunn, the woman’s son, told ABC News. “I don’t know why they shot her.”
Randolph Bunn, Ellis’s son and the boy’s great-uncle, explained that the boy likely saved the lives of all three of the residents with his quick thinking and courage.
“[The intruder] just shot his grandma… He would have shot him too, he would’ve shot me too, he would’ve killed us all,” Bunn continued.
Chiquita Coley, Linda Ellis’s great-niece, told reporters that she couldn’t believe that someone could do such a thing to her great-aunt. She explained that everyone in the community knows and adores Ellis, making it all the more difficult to understand how the men could carry out such violence.
“My phone was constantly ringing, and ringing and ringing,” Coley said. “I just couldn’t believe she been shot because she’s a good person. Why would somebody come into her house and do this? It’s got to stop. I don’t know what they’re thinking around here in Goldsboro, but it’s got to stop.”
Linda Ellis was rushed to a local hospital where she received treatment for the gunshot wound to her leg. She was able to make a full recovery.
While speaking of their recovery, family members said that the grandmother and the boy are “holding it together.” However, the child will likely need help navigating the psychological effects of taking a life, even if it was a noble act of self-defense.
With one suspect on the run as the investigation was still ongoing, the family admitted to remaining fearful until he was caught. Luckily, they have raised a young man who isn’t afraid to defend his loved ones by any means necessary.