James Dittrich was immediately thrust into a terrifying situation when a pair of thugs followed him home, robbed him, and forced him into his own apartment at gunpoint. The commotion woke his sleeping fiancé, Meredith Duffy, who was then sexually assaulted by the armed intruders.
“He just grabbed the back of my shirt, pulled me off of the bed, put the gun back on me, said ‘Get your purse,’” she recalled. “Then he told me, ‘Just dump it out.’ My phone fell face down on the couch and I remember thinking, ‘There’s my phone. It’s right there.’”
A quick-thinking Dittrich saw an opening to grab the burglar’s gun.
“I couldn’t wrestle it free,” he said, “but I knew, with both hands on it, I had control of it and that was the opportunity that she needed to call. And I just, I really just hoped I could keep control of it for her to make that call.”
As Duffy called for help, she was forced to witness Dittrich withstand a brutal beating that left his face battered and broken.
“And the one kept yelling, ‘Shoot him, shoot him, shoot him,’” she said.
Though the intruders ultimately fled the scene before killing either of the victims, Dittrich and Duffy are left with the harrowing memories of that tragic day. The two burglars remain at large.
“You’re always looking around,” Dittrich explained. “You see somebody who looks like they remind you of the people and you just immediately get a sense of dread.”
Following the incident, the couple moved from East Orange, N.J., to their hometown in Ohio.
Not only did the vicious attack cause them to rethink their living situation; it also led to an about face regarding gun control.
“I didn’t want a gun,” Dittrich said of his opinion prior to the burglary. “I specifically didn’t want one.”
After realizing how helpless he was without some means of protection, however, he left his anti-gun philosophy behind.
Dittrich concluded that he was forced to recognize that the police are not going to be immediately available to protect his family in the face of such a threat.
“They can respond,” he reasoned; “and they can protect you once they get there. But, you’re on your own.”
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom