Posted: 4:49 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013

Woman fires three shots at home intruder



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Woman fires three shots at home intruder photo
After a home invasion Wednesday morning in Middletown, there were two bullet holes in the window of a home in the 700 block of Kensington Street and the home intruder allegedly left a pair of her sandals behind.
Woman fires three shots at home intruder photo
Tonia Smith, 41, of Middletown, displays the 9 mm handgun that her 64-year-old mother shot three times Wednesday morning at an intruder in her Middletown home.
Woman fires three shots at home intruder photo
Mabel Fletcher, 64, of the 900 block of Kensington Street, says she fired three shots Wednesday morning at a 21-year-old Middletown woman who broke into her home. Fletcher says she missed the woman because she wasn’t wearing her glasses. The woman was arrested by Middletown police a short time later.

By Rick McCrabb

Staff Writer

MIDDLETOWN —

Mabel Fletcher got her conceal and carry weapon permit this summer because she lives alone and wants to be protected.

She never figured she’d fire her 9 mm handgun.

Then around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday, Fletcher’s dog woke her up, and when she wiped the sleep out of her eyes, she saw a shadow standing in her bedroom.

She yelled for the person — she didn’t know if it was a man or woman — to get out of her house in the 900 block of Kensington Street. When the person continued walking toward her, Fletcher, 64, a widow, reached into a drawer near her bed, grabbed her gun and fired her first shot as a warning.

Then the intruder, later identified as Paige Stacy, 21, of Middletown, threw an ironing board at Fletcher that missed and hit her bed. So Fletcher fired again, and Stacy, standing in the dark bedroom, yelled: “You killed me,” and she fell to the carpet.

Fletcher, who called herself “crazy me,” leaned over to check on Stacy, who lunged forward. Stacy raced toward the bedroom window, the same window she opened a few minutes earlier, and Fletcher fired her third, maybe fourth shot, she said.

Stacy escaped unharmed.

Had Fletcher been wearing her glasses, she said: “I’d hit her probably.”

Lt. Scott Reeve of the Middletown Division of Police called Stacy “lucky” because she wasn’t shot at close range.

Donald Dunn, 64, who lives next door to Fletcher in the duplex, said he heard several “very loud” shots. He then fell back to sleep. Dunn showed Fletcher’s bedroom window that had two bullet holes, and sandals that allegedly belonged to Stacy were lying on the ground, just outside the window.

Dunn said this home invasion shows these are “dangerous times.”

Police were called to the residence, and Stacy, who has a lengthy police record, mainly for petty theft, was found asleep in a car on Elman Court. Police said they had been looking for Stacy because she was a suspect in a Xanax theft in Monroe. Police found Xanax, heroin, hydromorphone and syringes on Stacy.

She was charged with aggravated burglary, three counts of drug abuse, possession of drug abuse instruments and criminal trespass.

She is in the Middletown City Jail and is expected to appear in Middletown Municipal Court at 9 a.m. Friday for her preliminary hearing.

She also is a suspect in several vehicle break-ins and attempting to break into two other homes, police said.

One of Fletcher’s neighbors, Marcelina Cabrales, said Stacy knocked on her door around 4 a.m. Wednesday, saying she was being chased by her boyfriend and she was scared. Cabrales refused to let her in her home.

“No way,” she said.

A few minutes later, Stacy allegedly entered Fletcher’s home through an unlocked bedroom window. And that’s when her dog, Benji, a bichon frise, started barking.

Fletcher’s daughter, Tonia Smith, 41, said the dog “saved” her mother’s life.

Fletcher said she was still in “shock” and that the early-morning events happened in “slow motion.” Later, she was taken to Atrium Medical Center in Middletown because she experienced chest pains. She was cleared and released from the hospital.

Fletcher spent Wednesday afternoon at her sister’s home. Several months ago, she said her boyfriend at the time owned several guns. Fletcher took CCW classes in Carlisle and she and her friend practiced shooting at the Middletown Sportsman’s Club in Madison Twp.

She had only fired her weapon at targets until Wednesday morning.

“I never thought I’d have to use it,” she said. “God protected me.”

Without a gun, she said, she couldn’t have fought off the intruder because she was “as wild as she was.”

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