The Loganville mother of two assumed the knocks on her front door Friday afternoon were from a solicitor.
“Don’t answer,” she yelled to her 9-year-old twins playing downstairs.
When the visitor began repeatedly ringing the doorbell, she called her husband at work.
“Get the kids and hide,” he told his wife.
As he dialed 911, his 37-year-old spouse, who works from home, collected the children and hid with them in a crawlspace adjoining her office. By that time, the intruder had forced his way into the three-story residence on Henderson Ridge Drive with a crowbar, authorities said. He allegedly rummaged through the home, eventually working his way up to the attic office.
“He opens the closet door and finds himself staring down the barrel of a .38 revolver,” said Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman, who relayed the woman’s narrative to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He asked that her name be withheld.
The woman fired six bullets, five of which hit Paul Ali Slater in the face and neck area, Chapman said. But Slater was still conscious.
“The guy’s face down, crying,” the sheriff said. The woman told him to stay down or she’d shoot again.
Slater, unaware that she had emptied her chamber, obliged as the mother and her children ran to a neighbor’s house.
The injured burglar eventually made it out of the home and into his car, driving away before deputies arrived on the scene. He didn’t get far.
“When you got five bullets in you, it makes you kind of disoriented,” Chapman told the AJC.
Deputies found Slater bleeding profusely in a neighbor’s driveway.
“I’m dying. Help me,” he told them, according to Chapman.
Slater was transported to Gwinnett Medical Center and is expected to survive, the sheriff said.
The Long Island native, who now lives in Gwinnett County, was released from the Gwinnett jail in late August after serving six months for simple battery and three counts of probation violation. Slater has six other arrests in Gwinnett dating back to 2008, according to jail records.
“My wife’s a hero,” the woman’s husband, Donnie Herman, told Channel 2 Action News in a brief statement. He did not respond to a request for comment from the AJC. “She protected her kids. She did what she was supposed to do.”
Chapman remarked that one of his deputies, impressed with the woman’s resolve, told the sheriff she had handled her first shooting better than he had.
“That mother’s instinct kicked in,” Chapman said. “You go after a mother’s kids and she’ll find herself capable of doing things she never thought she was capable of.”