Vietnam Vet Kills Armed Home Invader: 'That Guy Picked the Wrong House'

An elderly couple from South Carolina killed a home invader who was armed with a knife earlier this week.

Herbert Parrish, 82, and his wife, 79-year-old Lois, were at their home at around 2 p.m. on Monday when they heard a knock on the door.

Herbert, a Vietnam War veteran, fought off Harold Runnels Jr., 61, who later died from his injuries.

"I opened the door and he said he was looking for his little white chihuahua and wanted to know if I saw it," Lois Parrish said per local news outlet FOX 57. "I told him no, I hadn't."

Aiken County Sheriff's Office said Runnels forced his way into the house armed with a knife, using the handle of the weapon to hit the couple and cutting Lois Parrish's forehead.

Herbert Parrish grabbed a shotgun that was hanging on the wall by the door and then hit Runnels repeatedly with the barrel of the weapon until the attacker became unconscious.

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(File photo) A blurred police car in the background behind yellow crime scene tape. Herbert Parrish, 82, and his wife, 79-year-old Lois fought off home invader Harold Runnels Jr., 61, who later died from his injuries. iStock

"I felt, we're gone. He's going to kill us and take what he can take," Herbert Parrish told the news channel. "He was not going to go out that door and leave us alive. That's the way I felt. That's why I said, 'I've got to do something quick and get the edge on him. Get the advantage on him.'"

Herbert Parrish confirmed he hit Runnels "at least 10 times" in the face, "just as hard as I could hit him."

One of the Parrishes neighbors spoke to WJBF about the incident.

"This street is normally not that crazy or anything and we all know each other and everything," Jessica Clark said. "I never would have expected it to happen here. And so I kinda feel like it puts a stain on this neighborhood in a way.

"But when I heard they were able to fend off the suspect, I was so proud of them and I was like, 'OK, so that guy picked the wrong house.'"

The Associated Press reports that Runnels was unconscious on the floor when authorities arrived at the residence.

″[Herbert Parrish] was able to strike Mr. Runnels enough to the point where he fell to the floor still being conscious but unresponsive," the sheriff's office incident report states.

Capt. Eric Abdullah of the Aiken County Sheriff's Office, urged people to be cautious when opening their doors to strangers.

"Of course, folks have the right to defend themselves if their lives are in danger, but the best thing to do is to call for help," Abdullah told the Aiken Standard. "Every situation is going to be different. It may be a similar crime in nature, but every situation is going to be different. There's no way to accurately predict exactly what actions that any person should take if somebody is trying to invade their home. The best recourse is to think smartly and get help on the way."