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Woman, 67, fatally shoots home intruder with 90-y/o mother inside in FL

Police lights. (Dreamstime/TNS)
February 17, 2023

A 67-year-old woman fatally shot an armed home intruder who, before daylight on Wednesday, forced his way into her Florida home with her 90-year-old mother inside.

No charges will be filed against the woman, who “absolutely had the right to defend herself,” said Putnam County Sheriff Gator DeLoach, local news outlet News4JAX reported.

“Had she not had the foresight to arm herself, there’s a high probability we may be investigating a double homicide right now,” DeLoach said, adding that the woman’s mother had Alzheimer’s disease. 

DeLoach said in a statement that the incident “is a perfect example of why I continue to support and fight daily for the rights of law-abiding residents to own firearms.”

READ MORE: Texas mother shoots home intruder through door to protect kids

The woman, whose name has not been released, told police that the intruder, 64-year-old Reginald Best, woke her up by shaking her front door handle around 3:30 a.m. She retrieved her gun and opened the door. Best, holding a revolver, allegedly forced his way inside, saying “They’re after me” while ignoring the woman’s requests for him to leave, Action News Jax reported.

The woman said Best raised both his arms and, believing the hammer of his revolver was cocked, she shot him. Responding deputies found Best laying in the kitchen, feet away from his revolver, with a gunshot wound in his back, News4JAX reported.

When police were alerted to the incident, deputies were already on the way to Best’s house to investigate previous reports of a disturbance there. On the way to Best’s house, they received another call from a woman there, who said Best had jumped out the window and was running down the street with a handgun.

The caller told dispatchers that Best may have “been on something” because he said he was seeing people outside his home, but she saw no one. DeLoach said it will not be clear whether Best was on drugs until the autopsy and toxicology reports are completed, Action News Jax reported.

READ MORE: 93-year-old CA homeowner shoots, critically injures home intruder

Best’s neighbors sang his praises to local news outlets, expressing shock over reports of his bizarre behavior and grief for his death.

“Just the best neighbor,” Mickey Crawford told News4JAX. “Totally out of character for him.”

“He’s the best person I’ve ever known,” Best’s friend, Thomas McCombs, told the outlet, adding that he was “like a brother.” “That’s why I got his dog.”

“We all loved him. It’s going to be a sad place around here,” neighbor Robin Deem told Action News Jax, adding, “He’s the sweetest guy. He would give you the shirt off of his back.”