September 25, 2006
Thomasville -- A close call with a burglar's bullet a few months ago prepared Jimmy Washington to defend himself and his Southside Foods store in Thomasville. Over the weekend, a burglar struck again, but this time he didn't get away.
Neighbors near Southside Foods were surprised to hear its owner was bold enough to take justice in his own hands when someone broke in. "I was very much shocked to hear what happened, because I couldn't believe that he shot him, or whatever," said Neighbor Precious Smith.
Owner Jimmy Washington who spoke with us off camera said he was watching TV inside his home, which is connected to the store, around 3:00AM Sunday, when he heard a noise.
Washington called police then decided to check his store. "He actually heard something happening, like glass breaking, so he goes to investigate. He had his gun [a pistol] with him and he goes to the store," said Thomasville Police Sgt. Ricky Singletary.
It was in the tiny area near the store's front door that the intruder brushed Washington's right leg that's when he fired. "He was shot in the leg, the liver, and one of the bullets is in his lung," said Singletary.
Fifteen minutes, later police found 22-year-old Terrance Smith on a nearby porch. He's charged with burglary.
Georgia law allows you to defend your property, so Singletary said that no charges will be levied against Washington.
"He had to protect himself, this is his home, his home is part of the store so he had to do what he had to do, I mean I feel bad for him because his life was at stake," said Precious Smith.
While some have called Washington a hero, he wants no part of that. He told us he just wants to feel safe inside his home and store.
Terrance Smith remains hospitalized. He was released from jail earlier this month after serving 16 days for burglary.