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Homeowner shoots at would-be robbers during attempted home invasion

Columbia Police are investigating an attempted home invasion in the 3200 block of Mexico Gravel Road.

Officers were called to the home just before 10 p.m. Sunday.

The homeowner, Levi Strodman, said his wife heard the knock and sent him to the door. He grabbed his pistol, which he said he always carries in the home.

“It’s kind of taboo but I encourage it, obviously now,” he said.

When he got to the door, he saw the peephole was obstructed but he thought a neighbor was just having fun. When he cracked the door, an armed suspect tried to force his way in.

“He rushed it and I put force back on him and was able to stop him immediately,” said Strodman. “He was still fighting to make his way through and was gaining ground. Then he presented a pistol.”

Strodman said he lost his footing and fell down the stairs, but not before he fired twice at the intruder, who ran off.

“In this case, I was able to literally save my life and my wife from someone who wished to do us harm,” he said.

Former prosecutor Bill Tackett said it’s a textbook case of Missouri’s castle doctrine and stand your ground in action.

Under castle doctrine, a homeowner, or someone allowed to be in the home like a babysitter, has the legal right to defend themselves using deadly force when faced with a threatening trespasser. Stand your ground says people no longer have to retreat from danger before shooting in any place where they have a legal right to be.

“This is the extreme case where someone knocks on your door and points a gun at you and you have both available to you,” said Tackett. “If you want to shoot an intruder, this is your state.”

Tim Oliver, director of Learn to Carry, said a holstered gun is a danger to nobody.

“If that homeowner had not had his firearm with him, it could have turned out a whole lot worse,” he said.

Strodman said he only saw one person run away from the scene, while police said a witness reported seeing two people.

A K9 was brought in to try to track down the suspects.

Police said it’s unclear if the suspects were hit by the gunfire. There was some damage inside the home from the shots being fired, but Strodman and his wife were not seriously hurt, according to police.

Strodman said he hopes his experience can help others get the tools and training they need to take responsibility for their immediate safety.

“I just can’t recommend enough getting the tools and utilizing something that was given to us even at the foundation of our country,” he said. “The state of Missouri practically encourages us to protect ourselves.”

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