While talking to a friend through video chat on the other side of the world, Joseph Jaccob heard a loud bang at the front door. It was 5 a.m. Sunday.
He ran out of the bedroom, meeting his aunt in the hallway. They both worried his aunt’s 88-year-old mother had fallen down the stairs.
The bottom of the front door bowed as another bang came. The door flew open and three dark figures appeared in the doorway. One ran into the house. Jaccob could see one of them held a gun.
An Army veteran, Jaccob, 25, followed his first instincts and ran to his bedroom for his shotgun. With his aunt screaming, Jaccob aimed his gun at the front door. A man on the steps outside yelled, “He’s got a gun.”
The man outside fired his rifle, leaving two bullet holes in the side of the stairway just inches away from where Jaccob’s aunt was standing.
Jaccob fired back.
The robbers ran. Police said Sunday there probably were three involved. Police tracked down one suspected robber and learned he had been shot. Police found out he had been treated for a gunshot wound to his shoulder in a hospital more than an hour away.
Monday evening, police charged Patrick Neal Lackey Jr., 28, of Thomasville with felony first-degree burglary, armed robbery and attempted murder. Lackey has an extensive criminal history dating back to 2004 that includes multiple charges of felony breaking and entering, larceny, speeding to elude arrest and possession of a firearm by a felon, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.
Police are looking for more suspects.
At the house on Glen Cove Way, off Skeet Club Road Monday, Jaccob recalled the break-in.
After two tours in Afghanistan, Jaccob had dealt with gunfire before but, “It’s not something that’s supposed to happen here,” he said.
“I was numb. … It was 40 degrees and I was standing outside in my tank top and boxer shorts. And barefoot.”
Neighbors on both sides of the house who heard the gunshots loaded up their guns, too, and called police, Jaccob said.
Investigators found someone had tried to cut the power wires on the side of the house, Jaccob said.
Monday, Jaccob and his family members, who asked not to be identified, described the break-in as a “nightmare.”
Black streaks marked the front door. Boards covered the door frame. The evidence labels were still taped by the holes in the wall left by the intruder’s gunfire. The bullets entered the staircase, traveled through the living room wall and exited the back of the house.
According to police, there were four shots fired that night. Two by the suspects and two by Jaccob.
He and his family members didn’t get a good description of the suspects. But a new wireless security system Jaccob’s aunt had installed over the summer caught the whole thing on video, he said.
A neighbor told police he saw a dark colored, SUV-type car in the driveway next to Jaccob’s house, according to police. The neighbor told Jaccob a car had backed into the driveway and parked with headlights on and still running. Neither Jaccob or his family members saw the car.
“I’ve actually been kind of like paranoid that they’re going to come back,” Jaccob said. “This felt like a movie. And what normally happens in movies? The criminals normally come back to the scene of the crime. Because if they didn’t get what they were coming for, they’re coming back to get it…”
He shakes his head.
“A simple breaking and entering turns into a freaking gun show.”
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