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Crime News

Elderly Florida Man Shot Intruder To Death After Suspect Smashed Through Glass Door And Began Attacking His Wife, Authorities Say

Witnesses say Nathan Jerrell Edwards was acting erratically and aggressively before his fatal encounter with a 70-year-old Panama City resident.

By Dorian Geiger

An elderly Florida man shot an intruder point blank in his home after the stranger broke through his glass door and began attacking his wife, authorities said.

Authorities responded to the unidentified couple’s Panama City home to find Nathan Jerrell Edwards, 31, unresponsive and sprawled in the tiled entranceway near the shattered glass door. Deputies found a pistol on the kitchen counter, which the husband supposedly used to shoot the alleged burglar.

Prior to the break-in, the homeowner, who had been standing outside his house, noticed an individual walking down the street behaving “erratically,” according to authorities.

“He was screaming and swearing, and, according to witnesses, acting very aggressively and erratically,” Bay County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement on Tuesday. 

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The man, later identified as Edwards, then approached the homeowner in a “threatening manner,” according to investigators. The elderly resident, who is in his 70s, police said, attempted to retreat into the garage and into his home but the stranger pursued, eventually smashing the home’s glass door to pieces. Once inside, Edwards allegedly assaulted the man’s wife.

“The man then went to the front door, which was glass, and busted the glass and made entry,” officials added. “The man knocked the wife to the ground, got on top of her, and was beating her about the head."

The woman’s husband then raced upstairs, retrieved a handgun, and opened fire on the 31-year-old, emptying several rounds.

“The husband stated he felt he could not physically stop the intruder so he went upstairs to get his firearm,” Bay County Sheriff’s Office stated. “He shot the firearm multiple times, ending the threat.”

Edwards was pronounced dead at the scene of the shooting. The homeowner isn’t facing charges at this time. The man’s wife was transported to hospital for her injuries.

Detectives later identified the intruder as Edwards, whom they said is originally from Georgia. He was allegedly staying with a group of people in a short-term rental property nearby the couple’s home, according to law enforcement.

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Four people were slapped with an assortment of charges, including drug and child neglect offenses, in connection to the case, after investigators visited the rental home where Edwards was supposedly lodging.

After making contact with the man’s friends at the rental roughly a block away from the botched home invasion, deputies observed “illegal narcotics in plain sight,” according to a separate statement released by Bay County officials. LSD, cocaine, marijuana, THC resin, and suspected hallucinogenic substances were seized from the house. Investigators also found an unsecured firearm and more than $1,600 in cash. Children were also discovered at the location.

Ellecia Bryant, 42, was arrested on child neglect charges, as well as four narcotics charges, including possession of marijuana, THC resin, and drug paraphernalia, according to online jail records. Ashayla Lewis, 19, Ourania Moore, 26, and Khary Johnson, 35, also face a handful of drug charges.

Further charges could be pending against Bryant, Lewis, Moore, and Johnson following laboratory results, authorities stated. It’s unclear if they’ve retained legal counsel.