82-Year-Old Veteran Beats Armed Home Intruder to Death After Attack on His Wife

by Jon D. B.

“That guy picked the wrong house,” says his neighbor after this Vietnam veteran defends his wife with his life. The 82-year-old beat the armed home intruder with the barrel of his shotgun after he attacked her.

Say it with us: a life of crime never pays. Some live to learn this lesson. Others pay for it with their lives. Such is the case for a South Carolina criminal after his attempt to take advantage of an elderly couple in Aiken County.

The assailant, Harold Runnels Jr., 61, came knocking on the door of the Parrishes Monday evening. Lois Parrish, 79, was there to answer.

“I opened the door and he said he was looking for his little white chihuahua and wanted to know if I saw it,” Lois tells her local FOX 57. “I told him no, I hadn’t.”

It is then that Runnels decides to run into the house for an armed burglary attempt. Brandishing a knife, the assailant then hits the Parrishes with the handle before slashing Lois’ forehead, according to the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office.

This would prove to be his fatal mistake. Unluckily for Runnels, Mr. Herbert Parrish happens to be a highly-skilled Vietnam veteran.

“I’ve got to do something quick and get the edge on him…” said the Veteran

“I felt, we’re gone. He’s going to kill us and take what he can take,” Herbert tells the trade. “He was not going to go out that door and leave us alive. That’s the way I felt. That’s why I said, ‘I’ve got to do something quick and get the edge on him. Get the advantage on him.'”

Reverting immediately to his military training, the veteran grabbed his nearby shotgun off the wall. In a split second, he was beating the intruder rapidly off of and away from his wife.

“I started hitting him in the head with the barrel and I know I must have hit him at least ten times right in the face, just as hard as I could hit him,” he clarifies.

By the time local authorities arrived, Runnels Jr. was “bloody and unresponsive.” The intruder would later die in a local hospital from the self-defense injuries Herbert inflicted upon him.

“This street is normally not that crazy or anything and we all know each other and everything,” Jessica Clark, a neighbor of the Parrish’s, tells WJBF.

“I never would have expected it to happen here,” Clark continues. “And so I kinda feel like it puts a stain on this neighborhood in a way. But when I heard they were able to fend off the suspect, I was so proud of them and I was like, ‘Ok, so that guy picked the wrong house,’” she adds.

Despite Lois Parrish’s forehead gash and an injury to her index finger, she and Herbert both are doing well.

Well done, sir, and thank you and all other veterans for their service!