A pair of dangerous men hid in the bushes outside of a peaceful suburban home… it sounds like the beginning of a horror movie, but in Southeast Houston last week it was the setting of a lethal self-defense shooting.
The villains of this plot pistol-whipped Larry Covington, a 58-year-old retired firefighter, in his driveway and then forced their way into his home along with Covington, his sister and his 12-year-old niece. Covington said the men demanded money and that he believed the men intended to kill him and his family.
But there was a twist ending to this dark story. Covington recalled, “They made us lay down in the dining room. My niece laid on the end, my sister was in the middle and I was on the end. When we were laying there, he was ransacking the bookcase and the dining room, and I figured it was now or never. So when I got my chance, I had to take it.”
That’s right — the protagonist in this tale is a gun owner. He managed to reach his weapon and opened fire on the two men. Covington told KHOU11, “I needed an opening, and I found that opening… I got to the gun. I had to use it.”
Covington fatally shot one of the suspects, prompting the second man to flee the scene. The robber and Covington traded bullets, but neither the firefighter nor his family were harmed in the exchange. The injured thief was later identified as 35-year-old Joseph Goudeau, who had recently been released from prison. The other suspect is still at large and it is unknown whether or not he was injured during the exchange of gunfire.
Covington said that he wasn’t able to sleep the night after the event, but that wasn’t because he held any regrets. “If I had any regrets, I wouldn’t be here talking to you,” Covington said.
We’ll agree with Covington on that one — it’s safe to say that this is one story that had a happy ending.
A lot of self-defense news has extenuating circumstances or troublesome details that make the case unclear. This one pretty much as justified as it can possibly get. When a pair of gun-wielding men break into a house and threaten a family, that’s when the gloves come off and gun owners start pulling triggers.
We sympathize with Covington and his family – especially the 12-year-old girl who had to endure that terrifying event. What we definitely don’t regret, though, is that Covington is a permit-carrying gun owner. You made the right decision, Covington. Your family may very well owe you their lives.
What this story truly highlights is just how painful it is to take the life of another human being, even when it’s to defend yourself and your family. It’s easy to spot Covington’s emotional turmoil near the end of the video — this clearly won’t be something that he’ll soon forget. Some gun owners pull the trigger and sleep like a baby the next night because they know that they did the right thing to protect their family. Others have trouble getting past the gravity of taking a life. It’s amazing that self-defense shootings can provoke such polarized reactions, even if each gun owner agrees that killing the intruder was necessary.
What about our readers? If that terribly day ever comes and you’re forced to use your gun in self-defense, will you rest easy knowing that you did what you had to do to protect your loved ones, or would shooting another person (even if they’re trying to kill you) haunt you forever?