Burglar held at gunpoint by homeowner

ST. GEORGE – An attempted burglary was derailed when a homeowner caught the burglar at gunpoint and held him until the police arrived.

The homeowner, Eric Martin, of St. George, said the intruder had rummaged through and ransacked part of the house when he entered the bedroom where Martin and his wife were.

Martin said the silhouette of the man initially gave the impression he could have been his wife’s ex-husband. He said the ex-husband was physically violent toward his wife in the past and thought he had managed to break into the home. Martin reacted by rolling off the side of the bed and grabbing a firearm on the nightstand so he could confront the intruder.

The intruder was not the individual Martin initially suspected, but rather was a 30-year-old St. George man with no prior connection to the family. The intruder complied with Martin’s orders to lie on the ground and not move until the police arrived and took him into custody.  The man was arrested on counts of theft and burglary.

Police said the man gained access to the home through an unlocked door.

Martin said he has had previous firearms training, though added there’s no way of knowing how you might react to a situation until you actually face it.

“You have to be in that situation to understand,” he said.

Sgt. Sam Despain, St. George Police, said the police feel Martin acted appropriately and lawfully under the circumstances.

“He was well within his rights,” Despain said. “He has a right to protect his life and property.”


Ed. Note: Persons arrested are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

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  • Mary March 29, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    Hell yes!

  • Keep Our Freedom March 29, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Good for you Eric, glad to see that guns can be used for good. This story needs to be shared by everyone.

  • zack March 29, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    Great job ! Congrats goes to Eric for protecting his home and family

  • David March 29, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    if a guy breaks into my house i’m holding him at gun point too. But I don’t feel that we’re innocent until proven guilty if so we wouldn’t spend so much time in jail before declared guilty.

  • Bob March 29, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    Why do we have the name of the homeowner, who did nothing wrong, but the name of the alleged robber is not disclosed?

  • l Scott Larsen March 29, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    Funny how you can put the victim’s name and accuse the Wifes ex husband of abuse of her, but not put the burglars name.

    • sweet jude March 29, 2013 at 11:26 pm

      Whoopee, big deal, I’m sure if the womans ex is an angry individual, he’ll find other ways to stay in his giant pisshole. Those with anger problems around going to stay that way no matter what goes right or wrong. The bottom line is if they don’t get their act together, they’ll fall hard when they slam into a brick wall, so stop feeling sorry for all the nitpicker details about what’s fair or not fair.

    • T. Terry March 30, 2013 at 9:22 pm

      So from the looks of it the only suspect arrested meeting the stories description is as follows. …. Charged with burglary and theft arrested 3/28. No bail posted.

      – Ed. ellipsis

  • L Scott Larsen March 29, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    I want to know why my comment was taken off?

  • STG Dood March 29, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    The Spec reports the dude with the 9mm was fully nude during the ordeal..lol

  • Mike March 29, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    Mark one down for the good guys. Eric deserves a medal and the police should be commended for taking appropriate actions. Now let’s see what the court system can do with it.

  • Noah March 31, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    Next time, just lock all your doors before you go nite nite and nothing like this will happen!!

  • Allen Wong April 1, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    I think that the homeowner showed tremendous poise and restraint. If he would have shot and killed the intruder he would have been 100% justified. My wife and I had a conversation about the subject of home robbery/invasion just the other day. I asked her what she would do if someone broke into the house? She said that she would tell them to take whatever they wanted and leave. I said that I would shoot and kill the intruder. Stuff is not worth anybody’s life but how do you know the intruder’s intent? Are you going to ask the intruder if their intent is just to steal stuff or if they are there for rape and murder before you act? I can’t read minds and as a result, I will fight an intruder with extreme violent prejudice to protect my family.

  • Hatalii April 2, 2013 at 7:35 am

    I believe Allen and Noah are both right. All of my doors and windows are secured before going to bed, (or when being gone.) So if someone breaks in, that is exactly what they have to do. BREAK in. And if my dogs do not get them first, (which is unlikely,) I will.
    We live in a “reasonably safe area,” here in Dixie. But stuff still happens. So lock your house, your garage and your car. No point in making it easy for a crook.

  • DoubleTap April 2, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    The doors and windows at my home are locked at night…..not for MY protection. No, they are locked to protect the would-be intruder/invader that has foolishly decided to break into my home WHILE I am home. I will judiciously live up to my user name when that happens. My compliments to the homeowner for the fortitude and courage to do what was right. This is how these events are supposed to end.

  • HeckSpawn May 9, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    Regarding the editors note, someone that comes into your house at night, whether you locked the door or not, shall be presumed to be there to do you harm. The Good Lord can debate whether or not they’re innocent after you protect yourself and your loved ones.

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