A Louisiana mother shot and killed a man that broke into her home while her two children slept, authorities say.
The incident occurred at a home in the city of Hammond, about 40 miles north of New Orleans, early Sunday morning, according to a statement from the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Authorities said 51-year-old Robert Rheams was in an argument with a woman at a motel when he left and was given a car ride by an unnamed individual. During the drive, authorities said he attacked the driver of the vehicle in what authorities determined was an attempted carjacking. The car ran into a ditch and Rheams fled the scene on foot.
A few hours later, authorities were notified of shots fired at a mobile home and responding officers found Rheams dead inside.
Investigators learned Rheams broke inside of the home with a shovel and lug wrench, waking up a 30-year-old woman who lived in the home. The woman, who was not named, had been asleep in the home along with her 5-year-old and 8-year-old children.
Sheriff Chief Jimmy Travis told USA TODAY a struggle ensued as Rheams attempted to strike the woman with the shovel.
“She was able to arm herself with a Glock 40 and defend herself and her children to stop this violent attack,” Travis said.
The Tangipahoa Parish Coroner’s Office determined Rheams died at the scene as a result of his injuries from a single gunshot wound.
The woman and her children were not harmed. Travis said Rheams had walked past one of the children who was sleeping in the living room.
Rheams had been on parole since March 2021 after serving 20 years in prison for armed robbery, authorities said.
No arrests have been made in the investigation, Travis confirmed. The sheriff’s office is currently investigating the incident, and will forward it to the district attorney’s office once complete.
Travis said the mother was has been fully cooperative with the investigation, adding she was exercising her Second Amendment right by possessing a firearm in her home and defending herself.
“I hate it for the victim, that she has to deal with this, and live with the mental anguish this could cause someone knowing that they were forced to take a life,” he said. “But yet she needs to understand that her actions could have saved her and her children’s life.”
Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jordan_mendoza5.
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