An Atlanta mother of two was horrified when her home was broken into on the afternoon of Jan. 4 in a story that has captured the national headlines. Melinda Herman, 37, was home alone with her two children and used force as a final deterrent against the unknown assailant stalking around in her home.
Paul Slater, 32, used a crowbar to gain entry to the Walton County home, which he believed was empty. He has a history of violence, having spent time in jail for assault. Slater began to rummage through the home looking for valuables. Melinda Herman saw the intruder and quickly and quietly rounded up her 9-year-old twins, and took them to the top floor of the family home. She called her husband, Donnie Herman, who is a gun owner. He urged her to gain access to a firearm, and to sit in a defensive position in case the intruder attempted to gain entry to the room. The husband then called 911 on a separate line, and acted as a go-between for his wife and emergency services.
Donnie Herman is heard on the 911 tape released by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution telling his wife, "If he opens that door, you shoot him, you understand?" He then assured his wife that help was on the way. After a few moments of silence, gunshots rang out. Slater had attempted to enter the room the family was hiding in, and was met with the full six shots contained in Melinda's .38 caliber handgun. Donnie Herman is heard screaming to his wife, “Shoot him again! Shoot him!”
Five of the shots found their target, and Slater was badly wounded. Not knowing Melinda was out of bullets, Slater begged for his life before making it to his feet and escaping the home by fleeing in his SUV. He did not make it out of the neighborhood and was intercepted by police, bloody and broken. Slater was taken to a hospital and was treated for bullet injuries to his liver, stomach, and lungs. If he survives, he will face a litany of charges.
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