Man holds suspected burglar at gunpoint until police arrive - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Man holds suspected burglar at gunpoint until police arrive

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HARRISON, TN (WRCB) -

A Hamilton County man catches a burglary suspect in the act and holds him at gunpoint until police arrive.

Michael Barbee, 30, is now in jail after being caught stealing on someone else's property on Birchwood Pike in Hamilton County.

Early Monday morning the man woke up to someone rummaging through his truck. He went outside with his gun, confronted him, and held him at gun point until police arrived.

The police report said when the suspected thief started to run, the homeowner ran and caught up to him. He then saw that the suspect had something in his hand so he fired a shot into the ground.

He then ordered the man to the ground and saw he had brass knuckles on him.

He kept the suspect on the ground until police arrived.

Law enforcement said situations like these are not common, but they do happen, and give suggestions on what homeowners should do to protect themselves but also stay safe and within the law.

"If somebody's trying to break into your house they're not coming for a social visit most likely," said Chief Deputy Allen Branum.

"We encourage people's right to bear arms to protect yourself, we have that right and I think law enforcement in general encourage people to protect themselves," he said.

If you do choose to confront a person with a weapon, Chief Deputy Branum said be prepared for that to escalate into a more serious situation.

"If you walk outside with a weapon you need to know in your mind and be prepared to use that weapon," Branum said, "The fact that you have it may escalate the threat level a little higher than you just looking out a window waiting for law enforcement to get there."

Neighbors on Birchwood Pike said they would do the same thing if they needed to.

"That's about the only thing you can do unless you just stand back and let them take your stuff and then call the police department, wait til then get there and it'll be too late," said neighbor Steve Welch.

Police said legally, you can not shoot someone for just being on your property.

"You can't protect property with deadly force. You can protect yourself and your surrounded people and family," Branum said.

Chief Deputy Branum said unless your life is in danger, let police handle thieves.

"You know what somebody's doing, if you've got a prowler it's a bad idea usually to go outside and confront that prowler, call law enforcement, that's what they do," Branum said.

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