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By Susan OrrStaff [email protected] -- Margaret Summey credits God -- and her .357 Magnum -- with protecting her from a burglar Thursday.Police say Summey, a 64-year-old widow, shot 43-year-old Timothy Doyle Huitt after he broke into her McGill Drive home. After being shot, Huitt fled through Summey's yard, leaving a trail of blood that led from her home to nearby Berry Shoals Road, where he collapsed."I did what I had to do. That's what the police told me. I protected myself," Summey said.This is what happened, according to Summey's account and the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office report:Just before 1 p.m., someone rang Summey's doorbell but she didn't answer it. Then, she heard someone jiggling the back door. Then, someone was moving the trash can behind her house."I went straight and got the .357 Magnum," she said."I would have used a shotgun, but I had just had new countertops done and I didn't want to tear up the kitchen."As it turns out, someone had moved the trash can under a bedroom window, used a brick to smash the glass and crawled through the window.Armed with the gun, Summey went from the lower part of her house up some stairs and down a utility room hallway, where beyond a locked door was her kitchen. Through the gap under the door, Summey could see shadows indicating that someone was in the kitchen.She waited until she saw a shadow, then shot through the door, hitting Huitt in the leg.She then heard Huitt cry out, so she guessed she had shot him. Keeping the door closed, she then called 911 and told them what had happened.Meanwhile, Huitt was running through Summey's yard in an effort to get to Brown's Bait and Tackle on Berry's Pond where his car was parked.The shop's owner, Rhett Brown, said he didn't know anything had happened until a woman came in saying she was driving by and saw a man lying by the side of the road.Brown said he went out of the store to see Huitt, whom he recognized because the man had come to his store just a few minutes earlier. Huitt had driven off then, but when Brown went outside he noticed Huitt's car was back in his parking lot.When Brown went out to see Huitt by the side of the road, the man was in bad shape."He was a mess. He looked like he was hit by a car, the way he looked," Brown said.Huitt was taken to Spartanburg Regional Medical Center, where he was in the intensive care unit Thursday evening.A family member reached there would not comment.The Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office has not charged Huitt in connection with the break-in, but charges are pending once he recovers, said Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. Ron Gahagan.No charges will be filed against Summey, Gahagan said, since she was defending herself on her property."What she did is within the allowable limits of the constitution of the state of South Carolina," he said."If you feel threatened and you are inside your house, you may defend yourself up to and including the use of deadly force."Summey, who learned marksmanship from her first husband, a hunter, said her religious faith helped her remain calm during the break-in."I was just praying to God. I knew he'd take care of me," she said.She usually watches after her great-granddaughter, but today the infant was not with her, for which Summey was thankful.Hours after the shooting Summey remained calm and reaffirmed her belief that she'd done the right thing."There is some remorse in my heart, but I was facing death on the other side of a two-inch door," she said."I had to stop him."Summey's twin brother, Edwin Johnson, said his sister has always been able to take care of herself."She was raised up with three brothers. Dadgum right she had to be tough," he said.Huitt, of 243 Snow Mill Road in Woodruff, also faces charges in Cherokee County.He was charged with strong-arm robbery in connection with an incident at Lindley's convenience store Thursday morning. The clerk there said Huitt threatened to harm her if she did not give him money.Huitt has also faced similar charges in the past.In 2002, Huitt was charged with armed robbery and strong-arm robbery in connection with two separate crimes. Mike RossThe Cartridge GuysLife Member, North American Hunting ClubMember, National Rifle AssociationMember, Meeker Co. Historical Society
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