MONTVILLE, Ohio (WJW) – Brayden Jarrett says he was home from school last Tuesday, looking out the living room window, when he noticed a strange car parked sideways in his driveway.
“The car stood in the driveway for a little bit, so I walked into our kitchen because we have a window in the kitchen and I looked out and I saw the dude and I’ve never seen this dude in my life,” said Jarrett.
His mother was at work, but Jarrett, who is 16 years old, knew that she kept a 9mm handgun in the house and he knew where it was stored.
He says he is familiar with guns, in part, because he has been hunting.
“I knew there was a gun in the home. My mom had a gun, I knew it. I grew up with guns, so I knew about the safety, I knew where the gun was and everything,” he told FOX 8.
“My gun is unloaded. The clip is next to it and he knows where it’s at, so he grabbed it and he held onto both pieces and he stood in this (living room) doorway,” said Ashleigh Jarrett, his mother.
Brayden said he stood there watching the door as the outside door opened. He knew if it was a delivery service dropping off a package that they would leave it there.
But when the intruder started opening the inside door, he says he loaded the gun.
“I didn’t say anything but when I cocked the gun back and pointed it at the door, he said, ‘Oh (expletive),’ and ran,” Brayden said.
He immediately called his mother at work.
“When he called me, he asked smart questions first. ‘Did you have anyone coming over?’ ‘Were you expecting any packages?’ before he then said, ‘Well, I think someone tried to break in and I had to pull your gun,'” said Ashleigh.
Brayden said the car drove past their house again, and after Ashleigh posted about the break-in on social media, neighbors helped identify it.
At the Geauga County Sheriff’s Office, Brayden says he was able to pick the suspect out of a photo lineup.
The Geauga County Sheriff’s Office has charged Zachary Stutzman, of Hartsgrove, with burglary.
Ashleigh Jarrett says she knows Stutzman only as a friend on social media, although they may have mutual real acquaintances in real life.
She believes he may have used her posts to learn her routine.
But they were only into the second day of a new routine for her son, who he may not have expected to be in the house.
She is now cautioning people about what they post on social media.
“Anyone can see your schedule. If you are posting that you are at your place of business or you are posting that you are out and about and for someone who is mostly alone, it leaves you open for vulnerability and it gives somebody just a key into your life,” she said.
Ashleigh says she now has cameras watching over the inside and outside of her house, something she never thought she would have to do.
She is grateful to have a teenage son who is now also her protector.
“He’s so laid back. I have more anxiety about this than he does for sure. I lined up the school and told them to set up a counseling meeting if he needed it and his exact words were, ‘I’m not afraid of guns. All I had to do was pick a gun up and aim it, I didn’t have to use it,'” said Ashleigh.
“I didn’t want to pull the trigger on the guy. That would have been a whole different situation, but when I knew when it first happened, I had to stay calm,” said Brayden.