SWEETWATER, Tenn. (WATE) – After a man tried to break into her Sweetwater home, a teenage girl grabbed a shotgun to protect herself and her younger sister.
Alexis Taylor, 15, was home alone with her 14-year-old sister Madison when she says a silver car backed up their driveway.
“Instantly, I knew something was wrong,” said Alexis.
Their dad, Jeremy, was at work. Alexis called to ask if they should be expecting anyone.
Jeremy Taylor told his daughter that he didn’t know the car or the person in it.
“You always play the hypothetical game with your children. What if? You run through scenarios. If this happens, this is what you do. You try to plan for them for every scenario and every case but until it actually happens, you just can’t put them in that situation,” said Jeremy.
From inside the home, Alexis and Madison watched the stranger through the window.
Alexis says she saw the man load two pressure washers from her family’s carport into his car.
The girls say he then made his way to their front door.
“That’s what scared me because I was thinking, ‘well, if he gets in here, what could happen to me, what could happen to my sister’,” said Alexis.
Alexis’ father, over the phone, told her to “get the shotgun.”
Her father says he stressed the importance of firearm safety with his daughters at a young age.
“I was confident enough to know that she knew how to use the firearm if needed,” said Jeremy Taylor.
With her 14-year-old sister inside, Alexis says she then snuck around the side of the house, shotgun in hand, to confront the intruder.
From the corner of the home, she saw the man playing with the handle of the front door.
The man noticed Alexis out of the corner of his eye and made his way back to his car.
Once he was in the car, she walked closer to him.
“During that time my instinct was just telling me, I can’t let him leave with what he had of ours,” she said.
Alexis said she fired the gun at the man’s car after “he started the ignition and took off.” She claims she hit the car.
McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy says Alexis did the right thing.
“I guess I’m a little old-fashioned and I respect the rights of my citizens to defend themselves and defend their property,” said Sheriff Guy.
Tennessee has a ‘Stand Your Ground’ law. It states that self-defenders must reasonably believe force is needed immediately for protection.
When it comes to deadly force, a provision says defenders must reasonably believe there’s an imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury.
Investigators are still looking for the silver car and the man inside. If you have any information, call the McMinn County Sheriff’s Office.