Armed Homeowner Forced To Make Split-Second Decision

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An armed homeowner was forced to make a split-second decision when we spotted a man breaking into his house. Would he kill the guy or would he be able to have mercy on the intruder?

Jeremy Cox
Jeremy Cox (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

Pennsylvania homeowner Jeremy Cox and his girlfriend were enjoying a Wednesday evening at home when their relaxing night took a troubling turn. The couple intended to enjoy a movie together while having some pizza for dinner, but everything came to a screeching halt when they heard a disturbance coming from the basement of their Butler home, The Blaze reported.

“It was a loud bang and a scrape sound. We just kind of looked at each other like, ‘What the hell was that?'” Cox recalled, according to WPXI. When Cox went downstairs to investigate the unusual sounds that he and his girlfriend had heard, he discovered a man, later identified as 43-year-old Nathan Harvey, attempting to force his way inside the house through a locked basement door of the Sterling Avenue home.

Jeremy Cox
When Jeremy Cox went to investigate, he found a man trying to forcefully enter the basement door of his home. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

With Harvey halfway through the door, Cox quickly realized he was about to fall victim to a home intruder, so he rushed back up the basement steps and grabbed his .40 caliber handgun while his girlfriend called 911. Now armed, Cox was left with a choice as the couple waited for police to arrive.

Cox was prepared to use deadly force to protect his family, but he was hoping it wouldn’t come to that, so he told Harvey to put his hands on the washing machine. Thankfully, after realizing he was up against an armed homeowner, the intruder decided to comply as Cox told him not to move. Sadly, however, that didn’t last long.

The damaged basement door, where Nathan Harvey tried to force his way into the home of Jeremy Cox. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

Rather than heeding Cox’s warnings, the home invader became aggressive. That’s when the homeowner said he decided to fire a warning shot, choosing to take mercy on the intruder. Unfortunately, it didn’t have the effect on the suspect that Cox had hoped. Instead, Harvey, who had a mostly empty liter of vodka with him, continued to move toward the armed homeowner, forcing Cox to make a split-second decision.

Fearing for his safety and that of his family, Cox fired a second shot. “He took another step forward so I shot his waist,” Cox said, explaining that he had decided it was better to wound Harvey than to kill him after the homeowner noticed that the intruder was intoxicated. The bullet grazed Harvey’s abdomen. However, Harvey’s alcohol-induced bad decision-making was far from over.

Stock image for visual representation only. (Photo Credit: Pixabay)

Instead of learning his lesson, Harvey tried to get up after being shot, prompting Cox to threaten to shoot him again, the homeowner said. This time, Cox warned Harvey that “he wouldn’t be alive” if he had to fire another bullet. Luckily for the inebriated home invader, police arrived before Cox was forced to fire off a third shot.

“If [the police] would have been two minutes later, we’d be having a different conversation, I think,” Cox admitted, saying he would have killed Harvey if he was forced to stand his ground in self-defense. The armed homeowner was grateful that it didn’t have to come to that. “I didn’t want to kill him,” he said. “I didn’t want to have to take another human being’s life.”

After being granted a second chance at life, Cox hoped Harvey would use it to get the help he obviously needed. “Everyone’s going through hard times. And, I pictured him going through a hard time in his life, and I just, given his condition, I didn’t want to take his life and then deal with that type of regret that maybe he was struggling,” Cox, who was not expected to be charged in the incident, continued.

“[H]e had kids and I have kids, and all of those things are just going through my brain while that was happening and now after it’s happening,” Cox said before offering some advice to the man who invaded his home. “Get help,” Cox advised Harvey. “You’re not alone. Life — it’s a gift, and you were just given a second chance, in my opinion. So use it wisely.”

Nathan Harvey (Photo credit: Screenshot)

Facing felony burglary charges in connection with this incident, Nathan Harvey was taken into custody and transported to a local hospital for treatment before being hauled off to jail. Following his arrest, it was learned that he was already wanted by the Butler County Sheriff’s Office on an outstanding warrant. In fact, Harvey had been wanted for several years stemming from a 2012 DUI, according to CBS News.

This home intruder is fortunate to have faced off with a homeowner who was able to stay calm and who would rather offer the man a wake-up call than take his life. Hopefully, he takes advantage of the mercy he was shown and uses his second chance to change his life. However, if his past is any indication, it doesn’t seem that he’s one to learn his lesson — and the next time he drunkenly invades someone else’s space, he might not get so lucky.