JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA -It's been five days since an armed intruder was shot and killed by an elderly couple defending their 7-year-old grandson, and the boy's mother can't stop shaking.
Amber Olsen says her parents, Pam and Foster Coker, are traumatized and can't return to the house,
"We have bullet holes through the walls. The floor is ruined in the living room because it's an older wooden floor. It's just there are too many bad memories there now. They shouldn't have to go to a home with a police escort and keep looking over your shoulder."
When the armed intruder, identified as Marquise Yates, entered their home that day, Amber's parents had no way to know he had just been released from prison in April following a three year sentence
What Amber's parents did know was that Yates was armed, immediately attacked her mother and then attacked her father when he came to help. Amber's parents yelled for 7-year-old Mason to stay in his room. Mason did and later told reporters he curled up in a ball and prayed for angels to protect his grandparents
Yates fired through the wall toward the boy's room, striking a lamp. He also fired at Mason's grandfather, grazing his head. Yates also bit the grandfather's finger and rib cage. According to Amber, he then started toward Mason's room,
"He was going to kill them and my son. He was going toward my son's room. So my mother grabbed her gun and started shooting at him, and when that happened, my stepfather grabbed his gun and shot him as well. My mother and dad are heroes. They stopped him from getting to my son."
We report defensive gun uses each and every day. We see comments from people who've clearly put thought into handling a defensive shooting and from couch commandos who are convinced they can only be victorious - as if their (almost always) 1911 is a magic talisman that will cause the bad guys bullets to curve around them.
I hope that's true for both groups of men. But I can speak from both professional and all to personal experience that seeing the aftermath of a shooting is not easily forgotten. Calling the biohazard cleanup team and seeing them rip your home apart only makes it worse - it's a stark reminder of what happened in that very spot.
Take a moment to consider how to handle the aftermath of a defensive gun use - legal, financial, and psychological.
For the Cokers, for Amber, and for Mason, I hope they are able to process what happened and not suffer the impacts of PTSD a situation like this can cause. As for Mason's prayers... it seems like the angels he asked for were there that day.