IONIA COUNTY, Mich. (WOOD) — Imagine going to your front door in the middle of the night to find a person with wearing a ski mask, carrying a shotgun, wielding a machete and screaming at you.
It happened to a woman and her sleeping children Friday morning in Ionia County.
The woman, who did not want her identity revealed, spoke only to 24 Hour News 8 about the incident. She said the suspect – who turned out to be a 15-year-old boy – was bent on coming into her house, but she kept that from happening with a gun of her own.
The woman said she thought it happened around 1 a.m., when she heard a repeated noise from downstairs.
“I kept hearing, ‘Tap, tap, tap. Tap, tap, tap,’” she said.
That tapping noise ended up being the machete, scratching against her door.
The woman said she went back to her bedroom to get her gun, and from the top of the stairs, drew it on the suspect. She had no idea at the time that the person behind the mask was teenager.
“And I pointed my gun right at him, and he took a couple of steps back,” she said.
The woman’s children were upstairs, and her husband was not home – he is serving in Afghanistan – and the suspect was relentless.
“I felt like I was playing a game with him that he would step up closer to the door. I would raise the gun and he would step back,” she said.
The teen crept all around the outside of the house. In the daylight Friday, his footsteps could be seen in the snow on the back porch.
“My biggest fear was if he shot me and killed me, or if I shot him and he shot back – and I have two kids,” she said.
24 Hour News 8 asked Ionia County Sheriff Dale Miller if the woman would have been justified if she had shot the teen.
“I believe so,” Miller said. “If he had gone to the point of trying to get into the house.”
And when police arrived at the scene, the suspect continued to risk his own life.
“At first he hid behind a car, then there was a short foot chase where he finally threw down the weapon and we were able to take him into custody,” Miller said.
That’s when the situation got even stranger. Officers discovered it was a teenager behind the mask.
Police said the teen told them he was an ordinance thief – but despite their conversations with him, they still don’t understand what he was saying or what his motivation was for what can only be described as a bizarre and potentially deadly act.