Metarie, Louisiana

From the New Orleans Times-Picayune of July 12, 2007

Intruders surprised; shootout ensues

No one is hurt in Metairie incident

Dermott Murphy said he had a gut feeling something wasn’t right.

The uneasiness hit him as he pulled into the driveway of his Metairie home in the 1200 block of Brockenbraugh Court Wednesday at 5 a.m. after an early breakfast with a friend at the International House of Pancakes. He was anxious because someone had tried to break into his rented double through a back window just three days earlier.

As he pulled his Pontiac Grand Prix into his tiny backyard, he spotted two men attempting to pry the plywood off that same back window.

Murphy told a Jefferson Parish deputy sheriff that one of the men pulled a gun and opened fire, so he did the same.

“You got no choice but to defend yourself,” said Murphy, who used his .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol.

The intruders scrambled over a backyard fence and got away unharmed. But not before sending a bullet through Murphy’s passenger-side door and a too-close-for-comfort shot that ripped through the driver’s-side headrest, missing Murphy by inches.

As Murphy stood in his driveway watching a technician replace the automobile window glass, he said he survived by the grace of God.

“That I’m standing here is a blessing to me,” he said.

Murphy will not be charged with any offense, said Col. Robert Garner, spokesman for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. There are no suspects in the case.

Murphy, himself a father, acknowledged that he was indeed lucky this time. But authorities confirmed to him that he was well within the law, protecting his property and his life.

“They told me I have a right to defend myself,” he said.

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