By: Robert Davis

Robert Rodriguez, a former sheriff’s deputy, and his wife were sound asleep when an intruder kicked in the front door of their South Austin, Texas home in the middle of the night.

They didn’t wake up until the man, Richard Brent Prieto, 32, was in their bedroom, standing over the couple with a steak knife and a stick, mumbling incoherently.
“I didn’t hear a thing until the stranger was inside my bedroom. That’s when I heard someone talking and thought it was my son. My wife nudged me awake,” Rodriguez told CBS Austin.

Rodriguez asked Prieto what he was doing in the home, and Prieto reportedly told him, “My wife is under the house, and Chuck Norris is waiting for me, and I’m having a hard time.”

“I slowly reached for my weapon while he’s talking, and all of the sudden I grabbed my gun and trained it on him,” Rodriguez told CBS. “I said, ‘Drop the damn weapon.’”
The homeowner held the would-be assailant at gunpoint with one hand and called the police with the other. Prieto never made any brash moves toward Rodriguez. If he had, Rodriguez said he was ready to kill him, with his gun fully loaded with 15 in the magazine and one in the chamber.

There are a couple of statutes in Texas that would likely have protected Rodriguez’s use of deadly force had it become necessary. Under Texas’ Castle Doctrine, Rodriguez had every right not to retreat from his home against an unlawful intruder. Section 9.31 of Texas’ Penal Code also provides a justifiable defense so long as the force is “reasonable and necessary in the moment to protect against an attacker.”

Rodriguez said he believes Prieto’s intent to enter the home was to commit assault, because he forced entry into the home with a stick and later armed himself with one of the couple’s kitchen knives.

“Frankly, I think if he would’ve had a gun, I probably wouldn’t be talking to you. I don’t think the guy was motivated to do me harm, but I didn’t know that. I had my weapon ready to go,” Rodriguez said.

Prieto was subsequently charged with burglary of habitation with intent to commit assault.

Robert Davis is a journalist from Colorado. He covers defensive gun use and Second Amendment litigation for Gunpowder Magazine. Contact him at [email protected].

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