The Florida Panhandle sheriff who asserted that taxpayers could save themselves money by shooting intruders has refused to shy away from his remarks last week.
In fact, Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson is encouraging more homeowners to learn how to defend themselves with a gun.
As The Free Press reported last week, the sheriff defended an unidentified homeowner in his community who shot at burglary suspect Brandon Harris. Harris, a career criminal with at least 17 prior arrests led deputies on a wild pursuit during a 30-minute burglary spree, in which he broke into at least four houses.
During one of the break-ins, the homeowner shot at him several times, but missed.
Briefing reporters after Harris’ capture, Johnson said, “We don’t know what homeowner — which homeowner — shot at him. I guess they think they did something wrong, which they did not. If somebody’s breaking into your house, you’re more than welcome to shoot them in Santa Rosa County, and we prefer that you do actually.”
“Whoever that was, you’re not in trouble. Come see us. We have a gun safety class we put on every other Saturday. If you take that, you’ll shoot a lot better, and hopefully, you’ll save taxpayers money.”
In an interview this week with Fox News, Johnson again touted the gun-safety class and the supposed benefits to the community that would bring.
The sheriff noted Harris’ 17 previous arrests, dubbing him a “frequent flier,” and that he once served nearly seven years in prison for a home invasion. Meanwhile, at the time deputies pursed him last week, Harris was wanted on two felony warrants and a misdemeanor warrant.
“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,” the sheriff told Fox News.
“If somebody breaks in your house in Santa Rosa County and you shoot and kill them, the chances of them re-offending after that are zero, and we like those odds,” Johnson added.
“So in Santa Rosa County, if you break into a house, you roll the dice.”
When asked how his constituents had reacted to his comments, Sheriff Johnson added, “I tell everybody 99 percent of the people here love law enforcement and the other 1 percent are in my jail currently.”