Bob Johnson, sheriff of Santa Rosa County in Florida, doubled down Tuesday on his headline-grabbing declaration last week that homeowners under his watch are “more than welcome to shoot at” crooks who break into their houses — and added a little mustard.
“If somebody breaks in your house in Santa Rosa County, and you shoot and kill ’em, the chances of them reoffending after that are zero — and we like those odds,” Johnson told “Fox & Friends” host Ainsley Earhardt.
What’s the background?
Johnson briefed the media last week on the arrest of Brandon J. Harris — a “frequent flyer” crook with long rap sheet starting when he was just 13 years old. Harris broke into several homes in Pace, and one of the homeowners shot at Harris without hitting him.
Harris’ last stand went down when he broke into yet another home and authorities cornered him in a bedroom, after which Harris jumped through a window’s glass and got captured.
“We don’t know which homeowner shot at [Harris]. I guess they think that they did something wrong, which they did not,” Johnson said at the press conference. “If somebody is breaking into your house, you’re more than welcome to shoot at them in Santa Rosa County. We prefer that you do, actually.”
Johnson added, “Whoever that was, you’re not in trouble. Come see us. We have a gun safety class we put on every other Saturday, and if you take that, you’ll shoot a lot better and hopefully save the taxpayers money.”
In his interview with Earhardt, Johnson said the “frequent flier” suspect had broken into “four houses in a row,” but the homeowner who fired the gun “unfortunately did not hit him.”
“If somebody breaks in your house in Santa Rosa County, and you shoot and kill ’em, the chances of them reoffending after that are zero — and we like those odds,” Johnson added.
Earhardt asked the sheriff if his unapologetic attitude regarding guns garners support in the community, and he replied that he’s a cop, not a politician.
“In Santa Rosa County, if you break into a house, you roll the dice,” Johnson said, adding that “99% of the people here love law enforcement, and the other 1% are in my jail currently,” which he humorously referred to as the “Milton Hilton.”
As for Harris, at the time of his arrest he was wanted on two felony warrants and one misdemeanor warrant, the sheriff said. For this latest run-in with the law, Harris was charged with felony attempted burglary with assault, two counts of felony burglary to an occupied dwelling, felony burglary to an unoccupied dwelling, resisting arrest without violence, criminal mischief, and attempted larceny. His bond was set at $157, 500. He had previously been arrested 17 times and served a 6.5-year prison sentence for home invasion.
“We’re hoping this will be his third strike, and he’ll go to prison and not get out because we’re tired of dealing with him, to be honest with you,” Johnson told Earhardt.