PENSACOLA, Florida (WALA) - Three robbers armed with a baseball bat tried to force their way into the wrong house Saturday night in north Pensacola. The 72-year-old homeowner wasn't going down without a fight, shooting two of them and sending them running for their lives.
Jack Crawford was in his bedroom watching television when there was a knock at the front door. His 70-year-old sister called for him to get it.
"I opened the door, went over here and right off the bat, he hit me with a bat," Crawford said.
The top of his skull was split open by the blow, but Crawford didn't go down. He drew the handgun he was holding down on the hooded and masked invaders.
"I don't answer the door at night without a weapon, so I shot him. Shot the kid next to him," Crawford said. "The other one was running."
Pensacola Police later arrested the two wounded suspects when they showed up at a local hospital to get treatment. The third was later found at a nearby home. They are 15-year-old Earl Benard, 17-year-old Nathaniel Nichols and 18-year-old Curtis Crenshaw. They are all of Pensacola and are all are charged with home invasion and robbery.
A large oak tree in Crawford's front yard bears the scar of a stray bullet, and will be a permanent reminder of what happened on Saturday night. Crawford said the suspects should be glad they're not dead.
"I could have killed them, easy," he said.
Crawford's actions have inspired some neighbors like Sandra Powers to better protect themselves.
"I'm afraid of a gun, but I called and tasers are legal in Pensacola and I live in Pensacola, so I'm going to get a taser," Powers said.
But Pensacola Police Sergeant Jim Andrews said it's best not to take any chances.
"Just because someone knocks on your door or rings your door bell doesn't mean you have to answer the door," Andrews said.
Nichols remains in the hospital under police surveillance. All three are expected to be charged as adults.
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