The following video is a talking-head interview — raw and uncut — with a woman who survived an attack by an armed home invader.
Career Criminal Willie F. Stith III had apparently heard, mistakenly, that her boyfriend had a lot of money in the apartment. He meant to take it, even if he had to beat her, tie her up, and threaten to kill her.
[Kay Dickinson] was coming home from work when she noticed a man with a bag of garbage at the end of the hallway for her apartment.
Dickinson said she went to unlock her door and the man attacked.
“He grabbed me and pushed me into the apartment,” Dickinson recalled. “We had a tussle and he choked me and gagged me, and I dropped everything right there in the kitchen.”
Dickinson said the man, later identified as 35-year-old Willie Franklin Stith III, knew her name and her boyfriend’s.
“He kept saying, ‘give me the money, give me the money,’” Dickinson said, explaining she didn’t keep any in the house.
Stith then lead [sic] Dickinson down the hall to the bedroom where he tied her hands behind her back with a belt and wrapped the cord of a cell phone charger around her mouth.
“As soon as he took me to the bedroom, I looked over and the gun was sitting there – and I was like, there’s a reason the gun was sitting there,” Dickinson said. “I was just hoping he wouldn’t see it because if he saw it he might take it and I knew that was my only chance.”
Dickinson was able to wiggle loose from the belt. She jumped on the bed, grabbed the gun and pulled the trigger.
Stith ran towards the front door and then collapsed. She called 911 and took the gun out of his hand.
“I didn’t know if he was alive or dead,” she said.
So, did Stith get his gun at your Local Gun Store? To our amazement, he did not. As it happens, he is, er, was, a many-times-over Prohibited Person:
According to the Department of Public Safety website, Stith has multiple convictions, including larceny and burglary. Stith also served multiple prison sentences, the most recent a 10-month stint for second-degree burglary that ended in August 2005.
They somewhat understated his record. County jail stuff doesn’t show up on this database, apparently, but he’s been in State of NC trouble since 1998 and has by our count thirteen felony convictions. He also didn’t get out until 2006, it says here. The only reason this isn’t a murder is because Ms Dickinson, like Han Solo, shot first.
We’re not going to give this the full John Correia analysis here, but there are some things our gal did right:
- She elevated her awareness when something (hulking black guy with a garbage bag) was out of place in her world;
- She didn’t become hysterical, not while under attack, not while gunfighting the invader, not while on the phone to 911, not when the cops came.
- She freed herself from restraints. Very Important. Do not let them restrain you. Do not let them transport you. If they do restrain you, free yourself as soon as you can. Time and distance are mortal enemies.
- She kept thinking, and kept looking for an opportunity.
- When she saw her opportunity, she took it without hesitation.
- She shot the guy without a command or warning. When he’s armed, that’s just tipping him off and asking to get shot. “If you’re going to shoot, don’t talk. Shoot.”
- She hit with her shot.
There’s a couple of things she might have done better:
- The pistol on the Bible would have been of no use to her, if Stith hadn’t taken her to her gun. Better to carry it holstered (yeah, most people don’t).
- The hallway is exactly the sort of “transitional space” that John Correia talks about. It feels like home but it’s not as safe as home. People are complacent here; criminals exploit this. If some guy in the hall tingles your spidey sense, back out and wait for him to leave. If he doesn’t, call the cops. Wilmington, NC’s finest would have cheerfully put the habeas grabbus on Stith for his unlicensed, prohibited pistol. He’d be headed back to prison, but alive.
And that’s about it, really. Overall, a very good job of self-hostage-rescue.
Now, bear in mind that we’ve only heard one side of this story, and perhaps other things will emerge. But this looks like a clean shoot from the information at hand, and it would be hard to argue that society has lost a beacon of luminosity and pinnacle of humanitarian virtue, with the abrupt end of Willie Stith III’s life.