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73-year-old man holds burglar with handgun under his pillow until police arrive

Handgun. (Maxpixel/Released)
September 05, 2019

Daniel McGown, a 73-year old man from Akron, Ohio, was able to detain a would-be burglar in his home at dusk on Aug. 27 until the police arrived.

McGown, a retired business litigation attorney, said he slept with his Sig Sauer 9mm handgun underneath his pillow after discovering his house had been burglarized last Monday, Akron Beacon Journal reported.

After visiting family, McGown returned home Monday to discover someone used a shovel to pry his front door open, stealing a shotgun, rifle, three handguns, ammunition, two laptops and other items. He thought the suspect might return later that night for other items, such as a TV. He was right.

McGown, who usually sleeps on the first floor of his two-story house, slept on the second floor where he keeps his Sig Sauer.

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At about 5:15 a.m. on Aug. 26, he heard someone ring his doorbell according to News 5 Cleveland. McGown believed the doorbell was the burglar’s tactic to see if anyone was home before breaking in, but he didn’t answer.

McGown reportedly caught Thomas Gaffney, 51, entering his home. McGown aimed his Sig Sauer at Gaffney and told him to get on the floor, while Gaffney attempt to give an explanation for his presence.

“I pointed the pistol at him and I said, ‘If you don’t move, I won’t shoot you.’ And he said, ‘Don’t shoot me,’ ” McGown said about the encounter.

Then McGown remembered he left his cellphone upstairs, so he made the burglar walk upstairs in front of him, with the gun pointed to his back, to get it.

McGown, called the police from the upstairs bedroom.

Gaffney has since been charged with burglary.

Police are also investigating whether or not he was involved in the first break-in.

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McGown, who said he has a concealed carry permit, said he felt justified in his actions.

“I didn’t view it as taking the law into my own hands,” McGown said. “What I viewed it as — my home was being violated and here was a guy doing it in my presence, here’s the guy and I wanted him to stop doing that. Once I made him stop doing that, I had no trouble going to sleep because I had done what I was supposed to do and no more.”

McGown, whose home was also burglarized about six years ago, said he’s had a history of troubled sleeping.

“It’s great when they have them when they need them in the middle of the night and someone breaks into their house,” McGown said, describing his views on guns. “It’s not so great when they have them and they get angry at somebody they know and use it. … I don’t think you should have them unless you have some extensive experience with them.”