A Marine Corp veteran in Alabama answered a knock on his door and was instantly hit in the arm and chest with a shotgun blast. Three intruders robbed him of his cancer medication two weeks earlier, and they were back to get more. This time, the veteran was ready to “react and do” what was necessary to save his own life.
As Michael Irving stumbled backward and bled from his gunshot wound, he reached for what he called his “old-time pistol” and steadied himself to deliver retribution on the three low-life hoodlums who were about to end his life in Theodore, Alabama. Irving opened his door to face the assailants as one of them tried to reload a single barrel shotgun.
The details of what happened next are why Irving’s story has gone viral. This 62-year-old Marine is a hero in every right. “When I come up to the door, he blasts me,” Irving said. That’s when he thought to himself, “You’ve just been shot, you’re fixing to die, I might die.”
“I didn’t know them or who they were. Why me? Why shoot me?” Irving wondered. “When I walked right here to open the door, that’s when they shot me. Right there, cut loose on me and that’s when I went to the cabinet here and back behind the coffee I had an old-time pistol, and then I opened the door and smoked ’em.”
Michael Irving, who knew these armed criminals were there for his cancer medication, realized they weren’t going to stop after he shot the first assailant, who police later identified as Joseph Heathcock. As Heathcock fell to the ground, the fight continued.
“When he shot me, he was backing up with a single barrel to put another one in,” Irving explained. “I said, ‘Oh no no no no,’ so that’s when I opened the door and shot him, and he fell down and kinda did the cattywampus and laid down his shotgun and the girl reached over to get it, and she’s thinking he’s too bad to reload it and shoot. So I told her, ‘You better leave that gun alone or I’ll kill you.’ And she grabbed it and was putting it in her possession, so I shot her. She said, ‘Don’t shoot me again, I’m dying,’ and I said, ‘Well, drop the shotgun.’ And meanwhile, the third person is over there and got a little small automatic that’s jamming. So, I shot that person too.”
Michael Irving told reporters that two of the suspects shot at him as they fled while leaving a wounded woman behind. Police later identified one woman as Chasatie Dulabhan and the other as Casey Ray Gann. Irving says he shot one of the fleeing suspects again in the buttocks as they ran. “I didn’t want to have to kill them,” he said.
The two fleeing suspects only made it as far as a Dollar General Store about two miles away before calling for help as they sat bleeding from their gunshot wounds. Irving was shaken by the horrific incident. “It surprised me too, but when someone just shot and is trying to kill you, it just wakes up the dragon,” he said. “I learned that in the Marine Corps. You react and do before you get scared. Always react and do it before you get time to get scared.”
Heathcock, Dulabhan, and Gann were treated for their gunshot wounds and were taken into police custody. As for Michael Irving, he’s being hailed as a local hero for defending himself. He was outnumbered, outgunned, and had been battling colon cancer for the past two years. He says that you never mess with a Marine. Most people would agree he has proven that sentiment is completely right.