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Boy Shoots Men Who Tried to Steal VCR

March 15, 1988 GMT

SWITZER, S.C. (AP) _ An 11-year-old boy who had been left alone after school shot and killed two men as they tried to steal a videocassette recorder from his family’s home, police said.

Danny Ray Abernathy, 35, and Broadus Petty, 39, both of Spartanburg, were found dead at the house Monday afternoon. Officers were searching for a third person they suspect may have been involved.

William Todd Knight, the son of Billy and Ann Knight, ″acted very wisely,″ said Spartanburg County Coroner Jim Burnett. ″His life was in danger, he looked for an escape and could not find one ... he was a very brave young man.″


Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Department Capt. John Blackwood said the boy was watching cartoons in his parents’ bedroom Monday afternoon when he heard noises at the front door of the family’s brick, ranch-style home.

Todd told officers he was scared, so he went to his room for the .22- caliber rifle his father had given him for Christmas and loaded four rounds.

He then went to the front door and saw a man he described as ″rough″ pounding on the door. The man finally left in a white Datsun.

Todd said he resumed watching cartoons and about 10 minutes later heard more banging, this time at a dining room window.

He saw two men climbing through the dining room window. The boy said he went into the bathroom to climb out the window, but saw the white Datsun was parked in the back yard.

Todd told police he went back to the hallway, peeked around the corner into the den and was spotted by one of the intruders as they were taking the VCR.

Todd then fired three rounds at the men, who dropped the VCR and fled.

When police arrived, one of the dead men was found face down next to a woodpile in the back yard, approximately 50 to 75 feet from the house, while the second man was in the driver’s seat of the white two-door Datsun.

Todd’s parents both work and his sister had gone to a school activity with plans to be home in about an hour, said Blackwood.