You never need a gun until you desperately need a gun.
That’s the reality Casey Johns, an eight-month pregnant mother of two, faced on the evening of October 30, 2019, in Lithia, Florida. Were it not for her quick thinking and her husband’s gun, the entire family may be dead.
That night, two armed men in masks broke into the home of Casey Johns and Jeremy King, pistol-whipped and beat King, then grabbed their 11-year-old daughter, threw her to the ground and put a pistol to her head.
The home invaders threatened to kill the girl if King didn’t give them money.
“I’m telling them, ‘I have nothing for you. And they’re like, ‘Give me everything you got.’ It became real violent, real fast,” King said.
About that point the very pregnant Casey Johns ran to the bedroom and grabbed her husband’s legally-owned AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. She fired a single shot, which hit one of the home invaders and punctured his lung. The would-be killer made it about 200 yards from the home before he fell down dead in a ditch.
Near the dead man’s body, police found a Glock pistol, gloves, a mask with a skeleton design, money and a backpack.
“[My wife] evened the playing field and kept them from killing me,” he said, grateful for his wife’s response to the threat to his life.
Jeremy King suffered a fractured eye socket, a fractured sinus cavity, and a concussion. Doctors used 20 stitches and three staples to repair the damage to his head.
King and his wife didn’t know the home invaders, nor do they know why they were targeted by them, he said.
Child Protective Services Blames The Victims
Government officials blamed the Kings for the home invasion and Child Protective Services seized their children into custody, including their infant son born shortly after the home invasion.
“They said I created an unsafe environment for my children and that it’s my fault the home intruders came there,” King said.
“I have a lot of respect for what DCF and CPS and the judiciary have to do but, in this case, I do believe they’ve overreached,” said Derek Lucas, the lawyer representing King and his wife.
“I feel like I’ve been victimized here and now my children are still being victimized,” King said.
Home Invader Dead, Three Others Face Felony Murder Charges
Joseph Michael Baez, the home invader shot by King’s wife, died of his wounds at the scene the night before Halloween. Three of his accomplices now face felony murder charges.
- On Saturday, December 14, 2019, Ty’Zae Iizon Robinson was arrested and charged with felony murder.
- On Sunday, December 15, 2019, Kiara Tarquavia Ragins was arrested and charged with felony murder.
- On February 18, 2020, Dalton Martin was arrested and charged with felony murder for his part in setting up the home invasion.
Under Florida’s felony murder law, a suspect can be charged with murder if someone is killed during the commission of another felony. In this case, the armed home invasion resulted in Baez’s death, and Martin has admitted to playing a role in the crime.