WILMINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA — A Wilmington woman opened the door to her apartment to find an armed intruder. He pushed her inside and then proceeded to tie her up with a belt and gag her with a phone charger.
“We had a tussle and he choked me and gagged me and I dropped everything right there in the kitchen,” Dickinson said Tuesday morning. “He knew my name, he knew my boyfriend’s name, and he was like, ‘Give me the money.'”
She recounted her tale to Star News and said she managed to wiggle free from her bonds while the intruder went through her apartment. Once free, she got a gun out of her nightstand and used it to get her gun.
“As soon as he took me in the bedroom I looked over and the gun was sitting there and I was like, ‘There’s a reason why that gun is sitting there,'” she said. “I was just hoping he wouldn’t see it.”
Once free, she used it to shoot the intruder once. He tried to flee but collapsed and died shortly thereafter. The suspect was identified as Willie Franklin Stith III, 35. He was a felon with multiple prior convictions and a history of violence.
“I didn’t know if he was alive or dead, he was grunting but I didn’t know,” she said. “I put (911) on speaker and set her on the counter. I had my hands up when the police officer came to the door and they took me out of here pretty quick.”
So, this is a dude that served time in federal prison and he knew this woman’s name, her boyfriend’s name, and had reasonable suspicion there was something worth taking inside the apartment. Undoubtedly, that has to be about the most frightening scenario to play out for the average gun owner.
She handled it well. Outside of opening the door — something we strictly advise against until you’ve positively identified the person on the other side — she put up one hell of a fight given the severe disadvantages she was placed within.
The saving grace was the gun. Had it not been for her ability to get to a gun, she would have been at the mercy of this man who had already demonstrated his willingness to use violence and abuse against his victim.
The police arrived and got her out of there. They investigated the scene, identified the perpetrator, and overall came to the conclusion that she defended herself. She won’t be facing charges but she will be facing a lifetime of worry and doubt over who may have divulged that type of detailed information before Stith made his move.
That’s why everyday preparedness is so important. I don’t, for a second, think this woman anticipated that an event like this could ever happen. But it did. And as creepy as this whole fiasco was, it could just as easily happen to anyone else. All it takes is for one dedicated bad guy and a little intel. Keep that gun close by. Don’t open the door to strangers or anyone you haven’t already positively identified. Keep your situational awareness (wits) about you at all times. That’s the only way any of us have the slightest chance of fighting back should a situation like this arise in our own lives.