Four people wearing masks were shot at while trying to break into a Hixson home Tuesday night. It happened on Thrasher Pike. The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office says the homeowner fired gunshots after catching them in the act.

It's not clear if the homeowner is licensed to carry, but you don't have to have a carry permit to shoot an intruder who unlawfully comes into your home, a house/building you're visiting or even your car, according to state law.

Carter’s Shooting Supply owner and instructor, Kristi Manning, wasn't surprised to hear about what happened on around 9 p.m. on Thrasher Pike.

“Just because this one incident happened doesn’t mean there wasn’t five other ones last night that didn’t make the news,” said Manning.

Investigators say four people wearing masks tried to go inside a home, but were met with an armed homeowner. According to a press release, the homeowner and the suspects started firing at each other until the suspects eventually ran off.

No one was hurt.

“If somebody comes into your home with face masks, ski masks, whatever covered up and their intent is to do you harm then you have the right to defend yourself,” said Manning. “Self-defense trumps everything if you’re in fear for your life. If you were in fear for your life, you know it’s [me] or them.”

But there are some things to keep in mind when defending yourself.

“If somebody comes into your home and you meet them with a gun and they take off running, you can’t shoot them when they’re running away; but if they persist and they keep coming, then be prepared to shoot,” said Manning. 

Manning says guns comes with responsibility for yourself and others. It's why training and keeping up with state law is important.

“If you can’t aim and hit the person you’re shooting at and a stray bullet hits a neighbor’s house or hits a neighbor or somebody driving by then you’re responsible for that,” Manning explained.

It's a scary situation to be in, but Manning says if you can remove yourself from it without firing a gun, then do so. If you end up having to fire a weapon, Manning suggests seeking medical attention and getting an attorney.

She says no one should ever have to fear for their lives.

“It’s about time to make the thieves and the criminals scared," Manning said. "They don’t know what house they’re going to go into that they meet a gun or they’re going to meet somebody that’s ready to defend themselves.”

The incident on Thrasher Pike is still under investigation. If you have any information call the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office at 423-622-0022.