Monday, January 20, 2020

Real Estate Agent Uses Gun to Survive Attack

Firearm trumps knife and bear spray
by Robert A. Waters

At 11:30 on the morning of August 4, 2019, realtor Dawna Hetzler was preparing to show a home at Aspen Hills Condominiums in Commerce City, Colorado.

Hetzler described the incident to a reporter at  “You train for something like that,” she said, “and you pray you never have to do it.  And then you find yourself in that situation and it’s very surreal.  If I did not have my firearm, I would not be here today…

“I was setting up for an open house and went into the place and turned on the lights.  Not too long after I got the lights on, [a man] knocked on the door.  He was asking the right questions about how long it had been on the market.  We talked about loans and what he might qualify for.”

The man, later identified as Ernest Robert Chrisman, 43, toured the kitchen and living room.  Then he asked to see the rooms upstairs.  Hetzler said, “We got into the master bedroom and he pulled a knife out and I could not believe it was happening.”

In addition to the knife, Chrisman had come armed with a can of bear spray tethered to a rope.  “He asked me to take off my ring,” she said, “and get in the closet and at that point, his intentions were deadly, in my opinion.  I have a license to conceal carry and I have the firearm and I drew my weapon.  As I drew my firearm and he saw that I had that, he doused me with bear spray.  At that point, I could…barely see.  My skin was burning, my eyes were on fire and so I fired.”

The gunshot sent Chrisman running.

Five days later, he was arrested. He had not been hit, merely frightened off by the gunfire.

On January 10, 2020, Chrisman pleaded guilty to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.  He was sentenced to 16 years in prison.

“I want to believe the best in people,” Hetzler said.  “I don’t want to think there are terrible people out there that want to harm somebody and so [my] initial thought was disbelief, that this is not happening.  I don’t expect people coming to look at homes to have bad intentions, but you prepare for any situation.”

For those who are determined to ban firearms, what would you say to Dawna Hetzler?

Robert A. Waters is co-author, with Sim Waters, of the new book, Guns and Self-Defense:23 Inspirational True Crime Stories of Survival with Firearms.