A Louisiana man tried to carjack a good Samaritan before traveling three blocks, breaking into a woman’s home while armed with a shovel and lug wrench, and attacking her, says the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office. The woman shot and killed him in what authorities said was self-defense in the early Sunday morning incident, authorities said.
They identified the slain man as Robert Rheams, 51. He was out on parole after spending about 20 years in prison for armed robbery, they said.
He got into an argument with a woman at a hotel earlier in the night, Chief Jimmy Travis told Law&Crime in a phone interview. Another man was nearby smoking and overheard this. Rheams asked the smoker for a ride. The victim, who was from out of town, agreed, Travis said.
According to the chief, the driver took Rheams to a home, but no one answered. They drove on, and Rheams suddenly punched the driver, attacking him. They landed in a ditch, where the car got stuck. The driver ran while Rheams attempted to drive away but could not. The suspect then ran.
Travis estimated that the ditch was three blocks from where the mother lived on Klein Road with her two young children. Rheams allegedly broke into the residence. The chief said that the suspect, wearing a face covering to hide his identity, entered the bedroom of the sleeping mother. The suspect “started after her with the shovel,” but the woman managed to defend herself, shooting him, the chief said. She did not know who he was, Travis said.
According to the sheriff’s office, deputies responded Sunday to shots fired at the home after 5 a.m. Investigators said Rheams broke in.
“During the incident, a physical altercation took place between Rheams and the homeowner which ultimately led to Rheams being shot by the homeowner,” deputies said. “Rheams was later pronounced deceased on scene by the Tangipahoa Parish Coroner’s Office.”
They also linked him to the prior carjacking attempt.
“Detectives have also been able to tie Rheams to a carjacking which occurred hours prior to the home invasion,” authorities wrote. “Chief Travis adds that as of this time, no arrests were made in this investigation. Once the investigation is complete, the case will be forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office for further review.”
Prosecutors will check out the case, but the sheriff’s office voiced doubt on Facebook that the woman will face any charges for this: “Chief Travis concludes by adding this case appears to be a homeowner exercising Second Amendment rights to protect herself and her children from a violent home invasion.”
Travis said a motive was not known. He said they believe Rheams was trying to steal an automobile and that he went into the woman’s home to possibly get car keys.
Authorities said they were awaiting autopsy results to see if Rheams was under the influence of narcotics.
The driver from the earlier incident is doing well, “kind of shaken and upset” with bruises and contusions, but nothing requiring medical help, Travis said.
The woman and her children were uninjured, he said.
“She’s got to be upset and shaken over it,” he said.
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