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Friday, 19 February 2021

Vietnam veteran, 82, bludgeons a knife-wielding home intruder, 61, to death with the butt of his shotgun after suspect attacked his wife

 An 82-year-old Vietnam War veteran from South Carolina has been hailed a hero for protecting his wife from a knife-wielding home intruder by bludgeoning him to death with the butt of his shotgun.  

Herbert Parrish and his wife, 79-year-old Lois Parrish, told the Aiken County Sheriff's Office that a man from a neighboring mobile home park knocked on the back door of their home on Dicks Street in Jackson, South Carolina, on Monday afternoon under the pretense of looking for his lost chihuahua. 

Lois said she told the man, later identified as 61-year-old Harold Runnels Jr, that she did not see his pet and went to close the door, at which point the suspect forced his way inside. 

Vietnam War veteran Herbert Parrish, 82, protected his wife, Lois, 79, from a knife-wielding home intruder by hitting him in the head with the butt of a shotgun

Vietnam War veteran Herbert Parrish, 82, protected his wife, Lois, 79, from a knife-wielding home intruder by hitting him in the head with the butt of a shotgun 

The couple were at their home in Jackson, South Carolina, on Monday when Harold Runnels Jr, 61, forced his way inside

The couple were at their home in Jackson, South Carolina, on Monday when Harold Runnels Jr, 61, forced his way inside 


According to a police report, Runnels pulled out a large knife and used its handle to beat the husband and wife, causing Lois to fall and injure her left index finger. 

He then allegedly used the blade of the knife to slash the woman in the forehead. 

'I felt, we’re gone,' Herbert, proudly wearing his US Army baseball cap, later told the station Fox 57. 'He’s going to kill us and take what he can take.' 

Convinced that Runnels would kill them both, the decorated war veteran grabbed a shotgun that was hanging on the wall and proceeded to strike the attacker with the butt of the firearm. 

'I started hitting him in the head with the barrel and I know I must have hit him at least ten times right in the face, just as hard as I could hit him,' said Herbert.  

The couple, pictured at home after the attack, said Runnels struck them with the handle of his knife and slashed Lois in the forehead

The couple, pictured at home after the attack, said Runnels struck them with the handle of his knife and slashed Lois in the forehead 

Herbert grabbed a shotgun off the wall and bludgeoned Runnels in the head with the butt of the weapon, rendering him unconscious
Lois is pictured with injuries to her face

Herbert grabbed a shotgun off the wall and bludgeoned Runnels in the head with the butt of the weapon, rendering him unconscious. Lois is pictured with injuries to her face

A blue tarp is pictured covering the Parrish couple's bloodstained floor after the attack

A blue tarp is pictured covering the Parrish couple's bloodstained floor after the attack

When deputies arrived at the home, they found Runnels on the floor, covered in blood and unresponsive.

The 61-year-old man was taken to Augusta University Medical Center, where he died of his injuries that night. His body will be sent for autopsy and toxicology testing. 

Both Lois and Herbert Parrish were injured in the attack but were expected to fully recover.  

The couple told deputies Runnels had lived in a mobile home park a couple of blocks away from their home and they had seen him walking in their neighborhood a few times, but did not know him. 

Sitting in their living room with blue tarp covering their bloodstained floor, the Parrishes told Fox 57 they believe Runnels barged into their home planning to rob them.   

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