A South Carolina woman shot and killed an escaped inmate who broke into her home armed with an improvised weapon early Tuesday morning.
Pickens County sheriff Rick Clark said the woman acted in self-defense after shooting the man outside her bedroom door. The convicted felon got there after he and another inmate overpowered guards at the Pickens County Prison and fled. A short time later 30-year-old Bruce Webb McLaughlin Jr. broke down the back door of the woman's home and grabbed a metal implement he took from the victim's kitchen.
"The evidence at the scene confirms that the back door was kicked in and the escapee was near the homeowner's bedroom door when he was shot," Clark said in a press conference. "The evidence seems to suggest that the escapee had armed himself with a metal knife-sharpening tool. A pretty large sharpening tool."
The woman inside the home, who Clark said had a valid concealed weapons permit but did not identify publicly, shot McLaughlin once in the head because she feared for her life.
The sheriff said the second escaped inmate, Timothy Cleveland Dill, was captured by police shortly after making his escape and did not make it to the home. He was charged with criminal sexual conduct with a minor, according to a report from the Anderson Independent Mail.
Clark told reporters at the press conference all the evidence points to the shooting being a legitimate self-defense incident and no charges were announced against her.
"Our primary conclusion today is the homeowner is a victim of forced entry into her residence in the middle of the night by a convicted felon," he said. "He was an escapee from Pickens County Prison armed with an improvised weapon. The victim was trapped in her home and in her bedroom. The victim was in fear for her life and she used lethal force to protect herself. The sheriff's office has not uncovered any evidence or any information in any way that would suggest anything different."
"This was a big guy," Clark said. "If she hadn't had a weapon, no telling what would've happened. But she stopped the crime. She solved the crime for us and she came out a winner."
He encouraged other women to obtain a concealed weapons permit so they can be prepared for similar deadly threats they may encounter in their own lives.
"The one thing I want to stress in this, especially for females, is get your CWP," Clark said. "Be trained in your weapon. Shoot it often at the local range or where you can. This is the shining example of what this lady did, took the time to get her CWP and set herself up to be able to protect herself and not be harmed, killed or raped or whatever."
Clark further encouraged civilians to arm themselves and get proper firearms training.
"If there's no other thing we pull out of this today, I want to hammer that home," he said. "This lady saved her life because she took a half a day out of her life and went and got training. And when that training came through, she was calm [and] steady as somebody can be in that situation and saved her life and stopped the bad guy."