A plainspoken Florida sheriff has gone viral for encouraging homeowners to shoot intruders — and potentially save tax dollars in the process.
Santa Rosa Sheriff Bob Johnson made the remarks after an unidentified Sunshine Stater fired at a burglar with at least 17 arrests on his record last week.
Johnson declared that the property owner shouldn’t be afraid to come forward because they had done nothing wrong.
“If someone breaks unto your house you are more than welcome to shoot them in Santa Rosa County,” Johnson deadpanned in front of reporters. “We prefer that you do, actually.”
He politely offered firearm lessons to the resident to improve their aim.
“You’re not in trouble,” he said. “Come see us. We have a gun safety class we put on every other Saturday. If you take that you’ll shoot a lot better and hopefully you’ll save taxpayers money.”
Florida’s so-called “stand your ground” law specifies that a home dweller faced with an intruder “has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and use or threaten to use.”
Calling him a justice system “frequent flyer” at the press conference, Johnson, a 40-year law enforcement veteran, said the alleged intruder, Brandon Harris, was first arrested at age 13 and once did six years in prison for a home invasion.
“He just can’t seem to get the picture that crime does not pay,” Johnson said, adding that he had felony outstanding warrants before his arrest last week.
More than a dozen deputies were first dispatched to the Pace neighborhood Wednesday after 911 callers reported a suspicious man breaking into homes.
They set up a perimeter and deployed police dogs as Harris continued “jumping fences and breaking into houses as he goes,” Johnson said.
One fed-up resident shot at Harris as he tried to break into their home, Johnson said.
The frantic crook was finally cornered in the closet in the bedroom of a yet another house he had allegedly busted into.
Surrounded, he suddenly fled out of the room with officers in pursuit and jumped through a window before being taken into custody in a backyard, Johnson said.
“Hopefully this time he’ll go and he won’t get out,” Johnson said, noting that he chased a woman into a home with children inside and that she was barely able to lock the door before he could enter.
“He doesn’t care about anybody but himself and hopefully he goes to prison for the rest of his life,” the sheriff said.
Johnson lamented to The Post that criminals were being gifted the upper hand in soft-on-crime states like New York, California and Illinois.
“If you allow criminals certain liberties with your citizens they are going to take the extra mile,” he said of spiraling crime in other parts of the country. “That’s why people are leaving these areas in droves. You don’t have the right to protect yourself or your property.”