"It was a standoff between me and him," says 18-year-old Malachi Heisler
Malachi Heisler was asleep early Tuesday morning when he awoke to a commotion.
“I woke up to my name being called,” Heisler, 18, told reporters outside his home, according to WFLA. “I heard the words ‘Malachi’ and ‘help.’ That s all I heard when I woke up.”
When he got out of bed, he saw a terrifying scene: A masked man had entered the house and was pointing a gun at Heisler’s mother, Jolene Andrews.
According to police, Heisler then grabbed a rifle. That’s when the masked man – who was in full tactical gear, including black clothes, a holster belt and boots – turned the gun towards the teen.
“So picture in your head, it was a standoff between me and him,” Heisler recounted in an interview with WFLA. “He had his pistol and I had my rifle. It doesn t matter; a bullet is a bullet. One shot, you re dead,
The teen then made a split-second decision. “In fear for his life, Malachi Heisler fired his weapon, striking [the intruder] in the upper body,” the Pinellas County Sheriff said in a statement. The intruder died instantly.
Minutes later, Malachi Heisler recognized a tattoo on the man’s forearm: It was that of his 46-year-old father, John Heisler.
John Heisler, who was a convicted felon, had a complicated relationship with the family. Earlier this year, Jolene Andrews had gotten a restraining order against him after he was arrested on firearms violations.
The elder Heisler had what looked like two guns in his possession when he broke into the house, but police later determined that they were just BB guns.
“He was definitely there to torment them,” said Sheriff Bob Gualtieri in a press conference. “He was there to torture them and put them through a lot of grief.”
Authorities interviewed Malachi Heisler for several hours before determining that the shooting was a justifiable homicide.
He faces no charges.
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