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News Brief Personal Defense

Teen Mother Kills Armed Intruder, Becomes National Sensation

by Richard Nance   |  January 7th, 2012 89

Sarah McKinleySarah McKinley, an 18-year-old mother from the Oklahoma City area, lost her husband to cancer on Christmas day. As if that wasn’t enough for McKinley to have to deal with, New Year’s Eve culminated in her having to shoot and kill an intruder, 24-year-old Justin Martin, after he kicked in the door to her home and charged her with a 12-inch hunting knife.

According to ABC News, McKinley first met Martin on the day of her husband’s funeral, when he came to her house and identified himself as a neighbor. At that time, Martin told McKinley that he just wanted to say hello. McKinley did not allow Martin into her residence.

Not to be deterred, Martin returned to McKinley’s residence with Dustin Stewart on New Year’s Eve. Armed with a large knife, Martin and Stewart, attempted to force entry into McKinley’s residence. As one of them tried to enter from one door then another, McKinley armed herself and dialed 911.

McKinley could be heard on the recorded 911 line saying, “I’ve got two guns in my hand — is it okay to shoot him if he comes in the door?” The dispatcher told McKinley, “I can’t tell you that you can do that but you do what you have to do to protect your baby.” And that is precisely what McKinley did.

McKinley was on the phone with the 911 operator for a total of 21 minutes. It’s not clear at what point during that time she actually shot the intruder. Still, this incident clearly illustrates the importance of arming yourself as quickly as possible. But don’t underestimate the importance of calling 911. Not only does this get police headed your way, the recording could be worth its weight in gold if you have to defend your actions to police or in a subsequent criminal or civil proceeding.

McKinley told ABC News Oklahoma affiliate KOCO, “I wouldn’t have done it, but it was my son. It’s not an easy decision to make, but it was either going to be him or my son. And it wasn’t going to be my son. There’s nothing more dangerous than a woman with a child.”

Stewart fled the scene but soon turned himself in to authorities. Police are considering the shooting justified.

According to Detective Dan Huff of the Blanchard (Okla.) Police Department, “You’re allowed to shoot an unauthorized person that is in your home. The law provides you the remedy, and sanctions the use of deadly force.”

Since the shooting, McKinley has become a national sensation with politicians, celebrities and other public figures applauding her legal use of firearms. In an email to National Review Online, Palin said, “I’m all in favor of girls with guns who know their purpose.” Palin said she loved “that young woman.”

How familiar are you with the laws pertaining to home defense in your community? Does your state have a Castle Doctrine? When seconds count, the last thing you should be worrying about is whether or not you would be legally justified in shooting an intruder. A thorough understanding of the laws in your jurisdiction will better prepare you to respond appropriately and without hesitation.


  • Roger Good

    Great story…..I'm not really sure if a young mother would get away with that in Canada, but it's good to see that her and her baby didn't get harmed by someone trying to harm her in her situation.

    • Ernest

      That's why I love the US. If they come to my house and kick my door in they will have bullet soup as well. Just hope it's a bad guy.

    • buttons

      In Canada you don't have the right to shoot an intruder simply for being in your house, but you are allowed to use the minium force to remove the intruder. If you shot the intruder, it might be up to a judge to determine if the shooting was justified. In this case it was an act of self defence as the suspect was armed with a knife, not to mention the fact there were two male suspects and one female( & baby). Given all the curcumstances in this case, the shooting if it occured in Canada would be deemed legal.

  • David M. Green

    I am thankful this young lady's story turned out the way it did and that it is getting as much publicity that it is getting across the internet and other places. Sad to say it but the left would have us to believe she should have allowed these creeps to do whatever they wanted to her and her baby. Thank the Lord to be living in a place where a mother can defend herself and her children! And may we always do whatever we can to defend this right!

    • Home defender

      Dave, you said exactly what I would have said. More power to people who only want to live their life and create a safe place for their family.

  • Joe Rincones

    Justified!! To protect your home and family.

  • bhupinder.sandhu

    that is great kudos to the young woman really brave. i salute her. bhupinder . sandhu

  • Tom

    OMG…she was on the phone with 911 for 21 minutes! If that's not justification for everyone to own a gun, I don't know what is. Way to go Blancahard police you should be proud. Sheesh…21 minutes with an intruder breaking into the house. It must have been hell.

    • Home defender

      I just read that in Minnesota, the AVERAGE 911 response time is 23 minutes! Anyone with bad intentions can break in, do what they want, escape and be having a McDouble by the time the police got there. Self-protection is just that……. be prepared to protect yourself and your loved ones.

      • William Alexander Copps

        Because everyone knows that having a McDouble after a house invasion is the food of choice. Can't stay at McDonalds too long or else the police will catch ya. =)

        • Skip

          The thing we have to remember is that the cops don't stop crime, they investigate it after it has taken place. Better to be judge by 12, then carried by 6, she did exactly what needed to be done.

    • Robert M

      True. Having not been in that situation, I can still imagine that even 21 seconds of armed intruders trying to force entry would be torture, and I'm just a single guy, I can't predict how I would react in a situation where I had a family on the line too. I'm hoping I would react with the same courage as this woman.
      Think about the restraint it takes to wait that long to resolve the situation. She deserves to be commended.

  • artie


  • Mitch

    the only thing where the police get some slack is she lived far out in the country. Its going to take some time to get there on scene. Kuddos to the police for making the right judgement in the case.

  • Antonio

    No Castle Doctrine in NJ. If you believe your life is in danger, you should be able to defend yourself. And in your own home, you should always have the benefit of the doubt (I didn't break into his house!). I wish the law would be simplified with one overriding principle that states "the antagonist is always be culpable."

    Anyway, God Bless, Sarah. Best to you and the little one in 2012.

    • Home defender

      What are you supposed to do in New Jersey…………… practice being a good cadaver so the police will have some evidence with which to catch the bad guy so your relatives will have some "closure"?

      Minnesota is slightly into a Democrat majority (unfortunately) but we still have a "Castle Doctrine".

    • Tommy

      I had the same problem, being born and raised in NJ. My solution I MOVED THE HECK OUT . The weather in Florida is great most of the year, they were the first state to enact concealed carry AND castle doctrine laws (I believe). Maybe if enough people move out of these Nazi states and cities like NY, NJ, DC, Chicago , the politicians will wise up. NAH WHO AM I KIDDING…

      • BJC

        You can't fix stupid.

        • wally

          yes you can…she did it…

  • Mary

    I agree I would do the same thing if it was my life or my family's lives I would protect any way I could. I even have guns here that I would use if necessary. I found a great place to get them too

  • T.D. Honeycutt

    She's a heck of a woman. Richard, you need to find out how she can hold a shotgun, a pistol and a phone, dial 911 and shoot and intruder. This is quite a tactical feat.

  • Bob Long. Tulsa, OK

    Oklahoma has a great Constitution. It say deadly force can be used to protect yourself, your home AND your property. Secondly we can clearly see police don't stop crime they investigate crime. Every TV show (NCIS, LAW & ORDER, etc) prove this. Also the German Sheppard was a good alarm but would have been the first to be killed by this nut job with a 12 inch knife. His mommy says "this is not consistent with his normal behavior". Well DUH. This guy was a drug addict punk and thug. Had she not had a gun we might be labeling him a rapist and murderer. I just hope he died slowly fully conscious so he could think "damn I screwed up".

  • Shalimar

    Now if only they had a f'ing clue here in Canada about such realities…. :(

    • Home defender

      Aren't you guys in Canada about ready to "Deep Six" the long gun registration that cost so much and turned out to be worthless?
      Canadians should have the same right to defend themselves as what most U.S citizens have. the whole world should have that same right!!!!!

      • Shalimar

        The LGR is only a tiny part of the moronic "gun control" laws here. There is far greater stupidity not being removed (yet) such as "authorization to transport" rules.. which summed up is a magical lil piece of paper giving permission to a properly licensed 'restricted" firearms owner to move X filearm(s) to/from an approved range. The license alone isn't good enough and w/o it you are a criminal whom can be sent to prison. Not to mention the rules for how any restricted is to be trigger locked, put into a "case' locked.. and unloaded and then into the trunk etc etc.. and it goes on and on and on..

        Fact is current Canadian "gun control" is not nor has it ever been about "gun control" but rather people control and it does not do a damn thing about any actual criminal.

        Only part of c-68 (primary name of original legislation) that actually targets an actual criminal has never been used yet. (Life in prison for theft of a firearm)

    • Pete

      For 10 years running myself & 7 friends went to Alberta for 5 days of Duck/Goose hunting. We quit going 4 years ago due to the hassle of bringing firearms into Canada. Non of us have been back to Canada either as tourists or hunters. I understand it is a different and sovereign country; however, their firearms laws are just oppressive.

  • Vance

    I think the young woman did a super job and absolutely the right thing. It comes down to a few things. The scum bag would not be dead if he wasn't trying to break in where he didn't belong. Another thing, which is the Big One, is when it comes down to either my life or the scum bag who is trying to break in I ALWAYS WIN. I am not the one trying to comit a crime, they are the criminals. She should know without doubt that it was the right choice. I wish her and her son the best possible for their futures. May God bless them both. This is another reason that the 2nd Ammendment must be protected without it she may have become a victim. Thank God she didn't.

  • Bob

    The saddest part of this story is that ANYONE in the US of A should feel the need to ask a 911 operator if it is ok to defend one's children with a firearm. And to echo Bob Long's comment:
    "When seconds count the police are only minutes away"

  • Joe

    Hey Mr. Administrator. Thank you for deleting my comment. Now I will delete your whole article.

  • Rudy

    As much as this women was totally in the right i would like to point out she probably doesn't want all the kudos and pats on the back some of us are giving her. Let her move on with her life and raise her son. No need to make a mascot for our pro gun agenda. So just back off!

  • Larry

    Doubt this made the news in Canada, England , Australia and the rest of the world that lets criminals rule.
    Good for her and the baby that she's a resident of a State with sensible 2nd Amendment rights.

    Home protection begins with a 12 gauge and #2 pellets.

    • Jack Penland

      Larry, It begins with your doors locked, to protect yourself from the legal second guessers, then I recommend #4 shot.

    • Iain

      Thanks Larry, but it made the main newspapers over here in England. We've had recent changes to the law here and homeowners who have stabbed intruders to death have not been prosecuted. We might not have handguns, but step into my castle with intent and I will chop your head off.
      All the best to the young lady.

      • phil atkinson

        Yes Iain, too true but as I'm sure you know even with what we are still "allowed" by our betters to legally posses we had better not use them to defend ourselves or off we go prison most times, cannot anyway as of course they are well locked away as law/rules demands.

  • Bob

    Is there any kind of a fund set up for her and the little one? I would sure like to help her out.

  • Robroys28

    Way to go Ms. McKinley! Sorry for your loss of your husband. At least you know that you can defend yourself, and your family, on your own. Sadly, the world has come to be full of idiots like the the one you encountered.
    Thanks for preventing at least just one of them from breeding and putting his offspring on our planet. I beleive my wife would have done the same thing in that situation.

  • Scotty

    Only the police and criminals have accessible guns in Australia. So if an intruder gets in your home here your screwed. If a home invader comes into your home here in Australia and trips and injures himself he can sue the home owner for damages. What wonderful laws we have here.

  • james innes

    The US has got this law right in Australia if you defend yourself with a Registered and legal firearm ,while defending your family and property against an armed intruder you are charged with Murder if that intruder dies or attempted murder if you injure them. You are arrested your guns taken away and your Firearms licence revoked .

  • riverrat047

    Excellant job Sarah you did what you had to do!

  • Helper

    An ccount has been set up in Sarah McKinley's name. Donations will be accepted at the Chickasha Bank and Trust, located at 1525 N. Council Road in Blanchard. Donations can also be mailed to the same bank at P.O. Box 548 in Blanchard, Okla., 73010.

  • Tom D.

    The criminally skewed laws in countries like the U.K., Australia, and Canada can happen here in the U.S.A. It is the world that the liberal/progressive minds have given us. Thank God we live in a country that values those who observe the laws over those who do not. Keep vigilant, that could end here if we allow the left to do so.

    • phil atkinson

      Your right on the money Tom, stay awake people or you could end up like us here in sillyville u.k.

  • SFS444

    This is a great American happy ending.

  • David

    In Oklahoma armed knife wielding stalker versus armed widow protecting her baby equals dead stalker. No need to ask questions or waste the tax payers dollars. When home invasion is the fastest growing crime in America, ain't it great to live in the Sooner state.
    Trespasser will be will shot is a home owners natural right, and any governmental ideation to the contrary is a fundamental violation of human rights and unnatural.
    I a learned that in 8th grade civics class, I guess class they don't that much anymore.

  • michael

    Heard this on my local news (Im' from tulsa oklahoma). Much respect toward McKinley!

  • Ben L.

    Kudos to Sarah, she defended herself and her baby. I was a victim of a kidnapping and carjacking. I wasnt allowed to carry or have a gun where I lived. Im a second amendment. advocate.

  • John Doe

    I feel for the young lady, having to deal with this AND the loss of her husband. Unfortunately, in many communist states, like here in Massachusetts or California or New York you can go to jail for defending yourself. I don't care, I will shoot and deal with the consequences before I let my family be harmed.

    To our Aussie allies: Don't you folks get to vote in elections, or does the Queen of England still call the shots?
    Can't you just vote out the communists ruining your country? We're doing it here, slowly but still getting it done.
    Even the most naive of people here are waking up to what the hippie generation has forced upon us: Communist (democrat) ideals and communist government control. We just need to take back the media and colleges from the communists forcing this B.S. on us. I just hope we can do it peacefully rather than having to remove them by force, which may have to be done to save our country.

    • Mike

      First of all Im so glad the young lady was'nt harmed and thankful we have the right to defend ourselves. On the subject of the Communist (democrats)
      AMEN!!!!!!!!!! Im with you all the way on that one!!!!!!!!!!
      It says in our Constitution we have the right to take back our government!!

  • John R.

    Another dope learned the hard way that getting between a mama bear and her cub is going to end badly for the dope.

  • C M Hewlett

    Too bad she'll have to deal with the emotional distress of taking a human life but she'll have her child to hold while she is doing it!

  • Orlando

    If this had happened in California, the mother would probably have been arrested for denying that young man his right to break into her home and rape her. After all, in The Peoples Republik of Kalifornia the criminals have more rights that any law abiding citizen.

    • hicusdicus

      The illegal aliens have more rights than law abiding citizens. Law abiding citizen, a person who pays taxes so the government will have the financial means to have the law abiding citizen arrested prosecuted and incarcerated.

    • Dance Lady

      If the liberals keep going, and the Big O is re-elected, many more states will become like Kalifornia. Remember this in November.

    • phil atkinson

      Surely your describing where I live in the u.k., people get killed in their homes here & like wildebeest we just run on & hope its not our turn.

  • Dan

    It is a shame that the response time for most police departments is not faster than it is but being a cop in a department that has gone from 16 officers in 1985 to 5 officers in 2012 I understand why. Try providing 24 hr. service with such a small staff. We are relegated to investigating more than preventing crime. We encourage everyone in our area to have a firearm available along with the training necessary to use it appropriately. If you want to do something that will help people defend themselves then join the NRA as they are the reason we have the rights that we do have.

    • Robert Rook

      Officer Dan, you have summed it up, with all the restraints and lack of manpower police forces have to put up with, it is a wonder anything can get done. And a suggestion, find your nearest NRA instructor, spend a couple of Saturdays at his range and learn gun control, safe handling and maintenance, make sure that gun in the draw doesn't blow up in your face if the barrel gets clogged through lack of use.

  • James

    Thank God this young woman had been taught how to defend herself. Women across America should arm themselves, and be ready at all times. Join the NRA, Gun Owners of America, and other pro 2nd amendment organizations in your local area and keep a loaded firearm close by at all times. That is what a person must do in these times.

  • Hung Tran


  • Hou

    If she was in Canada, her life would have been ruined. Criminal record, child in "protective" care etc…

    Us gun owners get more scrutinized by the government than local gangsters.

    • Shalimar

      Understatement to say the least

      Sad but true currently…

  • Richard

    Just the way it should be. Salutations Madam.

  • Bob

    In UK she would have been raped and possibly killed. As there is no right to defend ones loved ones or yourself!! Had she caused injury to the intruder then she would be in the dock. Glad I left that nanny state!!!! Not much better here in France either.


  • Robert Rook

    I left the UK for similar reasons, rampant crime, police unable to do much, young children throwing bricks at windows and doors, giving the police the bird with "can't touch me, I'm too young" parents who don't care, and I believe it was 1996 when they 'confiscated' all of our legally owned guns.
    I feel for Sarah, as she will suffer trauma, however much much less trauma than being raped and or her baby injured or killed. 11 years in the military doesn't necessarily make you immune to the thought of taking another persons life, however you know that you are capable of it if the necessity arises.
    Remember "Gun Control is hitting what you aim at" . And I thank the wise Burgers of Alabama for having the Enhanced Castle Doctrine to help protect those who live here.

  • Don

    Pretty sad the day when someone is in such fear of being in trouble with the law, that they think they have to.ask permission to protect the life of them and their children.

    • Pat

      I saw not too long ago, that a 911 operator told the person calling to not use the firearm. The 911 operators should not be trained, or allowed, to tell callers they should not use a firearm. The operators should tell the caller that they can't mke that decision for them, or that they should use the firearm as a last resort, not follow that particular state's political leaning.

  • James

    I think I'm in love.

  • S. Fauth

    In Germany she would go to jail for several years.

    • Seth

      same here in mexico…….unless… you have money, then you can do whatever you want

  • Aaron

    +1 for the good people. Also I noticed the extra large German Shepherd in the photo…..these two idiots picked the wrong house for sure.

  • Bill B.

    It is refreshing to see and hear the liberal media take Sarah's story and give it traction. She did it by the numbers, showed incredible patience under stress and defended herself and her child. She lost her husband and was forced to take a life in the span of a week……………….holy cow, what a tough woman! The real tragedy here was that these nitwit intruders didn't come throught the same door single file. Maybe she could have gotten both of them and saved us some tax dollars to prosecute, feed and clothe another incarcerated useless scum bag criminal! I wish her Godspeed in her life returning to normal as soon as possible.

  • Texican

    Crooks are really dumb. This one brought a knife to a gun fight!

  • Don

    These days in Israel she would have been charged and prosecuted for murder.

  • Paul

    I feel a little bit sad for the young lady, sad because, you know as well as I do that a number of people will be giving her trouble over her actions. What she did is entirely right and proper, but there will be liberal pundits lambasting her in their blogs and other writings. Wonder if they know that in the world they want to live in they would never be allowed to print or say such things. I hope they never find out because I would be in that world too.

  • Jim Peden

    Nice story. Another scumbag off the street… permanently.

  • Dr. C. E. DeLeon

    Ms McKinley exercised her rights as a human and an American citizen! I applaud her! What does not surprise me is that 99% of stateside "Americans" do not know that in Puerto Rico, ALL USA citizens, are at the mercy of ANY kind of criminals since no-one can own a firearm, unless you are a crooked politician or very rich!
    As long as our laws keep protecting the criminals there will be morons like these that will think they can get away with it… unless, we stop them! Learn how to use your weapon of choice and KNOW you local laws about self-defense!

    • Jimmy

      Have PR to join the union then you can enjoy the same rights of living in the us. We only have 50 states make it 51.

  • ken

    THE ARTICLE DID NOT SAY THAT HE DIED ! That means to me that after his recovery he could become rich from the lawsuit proceeds. I begin to think about registering as a criminal so that I can own a gun, and besides if any lawsuit proceeds the pay ain't bad either !

    • Rudogg

      Maybe if you would have done a little research on the event you would know that he is cold and on a slab in the morgue. So i don't think he will be getting very rich at all. And since it was justified nor will any relatives.

    • Dance Lady

      The second sentence says she had to "shoot and kill an armed intruder". Doesn't that tell you that he died?? Sorry, but that was rather plain to me.

  • Dean

    I applaud the courage and the marksmanship of the young mother in this story. To those who think there is a "monolithic left" that looks down on her efforts, or her right to protect herself and her child, I say "get a grip". As a progressive, or God forbid, a liberal I am supportive of a c
    astle doctrine that allows such a a scenario as Sarah's to play out. So are most fair minded people of the right and left. We have our "bleeding hearts" and you have your "wing nuts" that dont have a grip on the real world. Dont politicize the courageous actions of a young mother. Support her, praise her and pray for her peace of mind as she raises her child alone.

  • Nick

    I give hundreds of dollars each year to the NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation. I will also send this young lady a substantial sum of money. Remember what Abe Lincoln said "united we stand, divided we fall. The second amendment our forefathers put into the U. S. Constitution is what is keeping us free today.
    When WW2 broke out, the Germans chose not to invade Switzerland early on. Why? Everyone in that country had/has a firearm in the house and was/is capable of using it.

  • Tom

    Law or no law nobody can tell me I do or don't have the right to protect my family and self. Its a God given right to me. I feel sorry for the person or persons that come bustin thru my doors.

  • Leonard Janousek

    I'm a liberal and Sahra did the right thing.She protected herself and her child.Break down my door and you'll recieve the same thing.I own many guns and thanks to the 2nd admendment i'll own many more.Dean was right don't make this political it's just common sense,protect yourself and the bad guys will go away!

  • Craig

    We had a home invasion before Christmas. Miracles do happen, the guy's shotgun malfunctioned and my wife is unharmed. It was a kidnapping attempt, as he went straight to the kids bedroom, where my wife found him opening the door. Luckily she shouted and screamed and after his shotgun didn't work he took fright when I body slammed the front door on him. I never wanted to have to live with guns in the house, however an experience like that changed my mind within an hour. We are waiting for our license and permit to carry. We will now have an armed guard from 6pm to 6am with a shotgun and pistol, and I will carry a pistol at home all the time. My driver will also carry while he is on duty in case of a kidnapping attempt when he is driving the kids (or my wife or me for that matter). This lady's story is another reason why legal gun ownership should be not only a right, but a rightthat we must exercise. BTW, we live in Philippines, and the police were so disinterested in coming after the fact that they refused to even visit. No-one however is going to make us leave our home and this beautiful country. The next dirtbag that thinks we are an easy target will be body bagged. Now it only remains to test some guns, make decisions as to which to buy, and get proper training and regular practice.


    If the gun ban liberal wacko's had thier way this would not have had such a HAPPY ending



  • Alex

    If the story is right, then she did everything right. It's a pity though that many cases of self-defense don't play out in your favor and the assailant becomes the victim.

  • Pete Scott

    wow bless her
    She did what she had to do to protect her baby
    Which is nothing less than any of us should be allowed to do

  • Jim

    If this same thing had of happened in (the Peoples Republic of) Maryland, the shooter would have had to surrender the firearm used in the incident to the local police, been taken in for questioning and, if it was found the intruder was armed with a lethal weapon, probably would have been charged with Second Degree Manslaughter. The "You Don't Bring a Knife to a Gunfight" saying applies here. If the intruder had of been armed with a firearm and used it on the victim, the incident would have turned out entirely different. But, because the intruder had a knife which is an inferior weapon to the firearm, Prosecuters most likely would have to charge the shooter because the knife is considered a "less lethal weapon" in Maryland than is a firearm. Regardless, the intended victim if they had lived in Maryland would be subject to prosecution and most likely would be sued by the assailant's surviving relatives. I know this sounds ridiculous, but it has happened in the past. My wife used to work for a law office that defended someone who had just this type of thing happened to him. He was charged with Second Degree Manslaughter after the home invasion, had to surrender his firearms (all of them), faced a lengthy trial which he was found guilty, served ten months in prison and then was sued by the assailants family for a sum of $1 million dollars. That lawsuit is still pending. He, by the way, is almost bankrupt as a result of this. So, the moral of the story is if you live in Maryland and you have a gun for home defense, make sure the assailant either stabs or shoots you first before you discharge your weapon at them otherwise you could find yourself in this same situation. Sad, but true.

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