PAHRUMP, Nevada — Pahrump Valley Times outdoors columnist Dan Simmons shot and wounded an intruder Tuesday morning during a terrifying home invasion.
According to Lt. Bill Becht, David Patillo Jr., described as a Hispanic male in his early to mid 20s, was preparing to surrender to authorities, though that had not occurred by press time.
He aimed and fired, hitting the suspect in the left shoulder.
Simmons, still shaken from the incident a few hours later, said he was awakened at 5:30 a.m. by a woman living in his guest house who said somebody was trying to break into the residence at Simmons’ central Pahrump home.
“I grabbed my gun and went outside as my neighbor called 911,” recounted Simmons. “Nothing. Nobody was there. The police showed up immediately, but there were no bad guys.”
Not too long after the police departed, the neighbor and her seven-year-old daughter were at Simmons’ home. The woman was making tea when she told Simmons someone was walking to the door.
Thinking it was a policeman; Simmons walked to the kitchen door and looked through the door window to see who had arrived. “This is when things got really dramatic,” said Simmons. “He was a small man with a hooded sweatshirt, work gloves and one of those Mickey Mouse respirators. All I could see were his eyes.”’
Simmons said the man told him to step outside; instead he went to retrieve his .357 handgun for the second time in an hour. He ordered his neighbor and her daughter into a back room. A moment later the inlaid glass of his front door shattered. Simmons returned to the kitchen and saw the suspect in his home. He aimed and fired, hitting the suspect in the left shoulder. The bullet traveled through the man’s body and lodged into the doorjamb.
“Yesterday I felt secure in my own home,” he said. “Today, I don’t feel safe. Not one bit…and I’m taking precautions…”
Simmons said the man dropped down, uttered an expletive, and then stood back up and fled. Police were once again summoned to the home. “I told them I shot the guy.”
Patillo reportedly fled to nearby Comstock Park where he shed his bloody clothes. According to Sheriff Tony DeMeo, who said Simmons’ actions constituted a clear-cut case of home defense, Patillo was not seriously injured. “(The suspect’s) family has been in contact with us,” DeMeo said.
Lt. Bill Becht conjectured Patillo would turn himself into authorities once the family retains an attorney. There’s a possibility the lawyer might handle another case for the man. On Sept. 28, he was arrested and charged with statutory sexual seduction.
For Simmons and his neighbor life took a dramatic turn this week. “Yesterday I felt secure in my own home,” he said. “Today, I don’t feel safe. Not one bit…and I’m taking precautions. I advise everyone else in town to do the same.”
Pahrump Valley Times • October 20, 2004