East Ridge home intruder stopped by armed residents - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

East Ridge home intruder stopped by armed residents

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EAST RIDGE, TN (WRCB) -- An East Ridge family catches an intruder in the act and held him for police. They tell Channel 3 why their guns may have saved their lives.

A 22-year-old Hixson man is behind bars after police say he repeatedly tried to force his way into an East Ridge home early Sunday morning. It happened on South Seminole Drive.

Around 1:45 a.m. Sunday the Davenport family awoke to a banging at the front door. They asked the man what he wanted and he made it clear-- he wanted inside. From there, they called police and jumped into action to protect themselves.

"My husband said police are on the way, I have a weapon and the guy said 'F that I'm coming in this house' and he was breaking the glass and he had his arm inside the house trying to unlock the door," homeowner Melissa Davenport said.

As her husband fought the stranger, now identified as 22-year-old Chas Scruggs at the door, Melissa Davenport frantically called 911.  "I was just telling her I'm so scared I'm so scared," Davenport said.

But, the threat of police didn't stop him from trying to force his way in.  "Then he broke our middle door pane and you can see his blood here on the door. He was kicking through this pane of glass here trying to get it open," she said.

Her husband got his gun and fired a warning shot. "Actually went through the door here and it's in the casing," Davenport said.

When that didn't scare him, Melissa called her dad who lives just down the street, who is also armed with a gun and a permit to carry.  "I jumped across and landed here," Bill Birkhead said.

Then they say Scruggs changed his target to him. "He came at me and I pulled my gun, held it with both hands and said if you come any closer I'm going to have to shoot you," Birkhead said.

When that didn't work, he fired a warning shot into the ground. "I think he was high just by the way he acted. He had no fear," Birkhead said.

They were finally able to corner him on the porch. "He said ok man, you got me," Birkhead said.

Several East Ridge officers arrived on scene within four minutes of the call and arrested Scruggs.

"Thank God East Ridge Police got here so fast because I was just in fear I was going to have to shoot and kill him and I did not want to do that," Birkhead said.

Now cleaning up the mess, Melissa says it's unnerving to think what would've happened if they didn't wake up before he got in, or weren't armed. 

"I will always have a gun so that we can protect ourselves because you never know what someone's crazy enough to do," Davenport said.

Melissa says their home was burglarized in 2008 while they weren't home. She also says a man, that looked like Scruggs came to her door this summer, but ran off when she answered.

Scruggs is charged with aggravated burglary and vandalism.

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