Elderly Vietnam Vet Thwarts Suspect in South Carolina Home Invasion

“He was not going to go out that door and leave us alive,” recalls 82-year-old Herbert Parrish.

Herbert Parrish, 82, and his 79-year-old wife Lois Parrish [screenshot from WACH Fox 57]

Herbert Parrish, 82, and his 79-year-old wife Lois Parrish [screenshot from WACH Fox 57]

By: Aaron Rasmussen

A home invasion suspect is dead after he attacked an elderly couple in South Carolina, authorities said.

Herbert Parrish, 82, and his 79-year-old wife, Lois Parrish, were at their home in Jackson when they heard a knock just after 2 p.m. on February 15.

Lois told Columbia’s WACH-TV she opened the door and a man, later identified as Harold L. Runnels Jr., 61, said he was looking for his little white Chihuahua and wanted to know if she had seen it.

Lois said no and tried to close the door, but Runnels barged his way inside. The suspect began striking her with the handle of a large knife, causing her to fall down, and he cut her in the forehead, according to the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office.

“I felt, we’re gone. He’s going to kill us and take what he can take,” Lois’ husband, Herbert, recalled. “He was not going to go out that door and leave us alive. That’s the way I felt.”

Fearing for his and his wife’s safety, Herbert, a decorated Vietnam veteran, decided he had “to do something quick” and “get an edge on him.”

Herbert grabbed a shotgun he kept hanging by the door and used it to repeatedly strike Runnels until the alleged assailant fell to the ground.

“I started hitting him in the head with the barrel and I know I must have hit him at least ten times right in the face, just as hard as I could hit him,” Herbert said.

Authorities said the altercation left Runnels with traumatic injuries and he later died at Augusta University Medical Center.

Both Herbert and Lois Parrish were hurt during the incident but they are expected to recover. Neither face charges stemming from Runnel’s death.

“When I heard they were able to fend off the suspect, I was so proud of them and I was like, ‘Ok, so that guy picked the wrong house,’” the couple’s neighbor, Jessica Clark, told WJBF.

Next Up

Survivor Faces Man In Court Sentencing Who Kidnapped, Raped & Set Her On Fire

“It's finally over. I can move on with my life. I've let go of my hatred and all of my anger and I can move forward from here,” Diane Pranske said.

Video: 5 Women Survivors Who Inspire Us With Their Strength

This Women's History Month watch these women survivors and be inspired!

Indiana Woman Outsmarts Kidnapper, Drives Him to Police Station During Abduction

The temporary and quick-thinking captive noticed the police station, did a U-turn, and ran to safety.

Human Trafficking Survivor And FBI Agent Team Up To Save Victims

Thousands of Americans become the victim of human trafficking each year. This survivor is speaking out and fighting back.

Casey Hathaway, Rescued 3-Year-Old Found In Woods, Says 'Friendly Bear' Kept Him Safe

Police launched a massive manhunt for Casey Hathaway including K-9 units, drones, and helicopters as well as divers.

Shocking Video Shows 13-Year-Old Girl Fighting Off Her Alleged Kidnapper

The surveillance video appears to show the man grabbing the unnamed teen, and then she can be seen breaking free and banging on the door.

Florida Boy Jumps Out Of Moving Car To Escape Alleged Kidnapper

Timothy Miller is facing multiple charges in connection with the alleged kidnapping of a 12-year-old boy.

Woman Kidnapped At Age 6 Reunited With Her Mother Almost 14 Years Later

Jacqueline Hernandez located her mom in Florida and reached out on social media.