A young Oklahoma mom and recent widow was home alone with her 3-month-old son when she heard a stranger attempting to break into her mobile home.
Sarah Mckinley had just buried her husband after he had passed away from cancer on Christmas Day. But just a few days later, on New Year’s Eve, two men, one armed with a 12-inch hunting knife, tried to break into her rural home.
Sarah’s dog growled to alert her and she quickly slid a couch in front of the door, went to her bedroom with her baby and fetched a 12-gauge shotgun and handgun before calling 911.
For the next 21 excruciating minutes, the men tried to break down the door as Sarah stayed on the line.
“I’ve got two guns in my hand – is it OK to shoot him if he comes in this door?” Sarah asks.
“Well, you have to do whatever you can do to protect yourself,” dispatcher Diane Graham tells her. “I can’t tell you that you can do that, but you do what you have to do to protect your baby.”
Sarah’s intense conversation with the dispatcher was recorded and a few clips of the dramatic exchange are included in the video below.
When one of the men kicked down the door and came at Sarah with a knife, she did what she needed to do to protect herself and her infant son. She shot and killed 24-year-old Justin Shane Martin.
Sarah told police that she was acquainted with Martin and believed he had been stalking her. He had stopped by the house on the day of her husband’s funeral claiming he was a neighbor who wanted to say hello.
After investigating, police said the two men may have been high on prescription painkillers and looking for more drugs in Sarah’s home.
The new mother was not charged; authorities called her actions justified and the law permits the use of deadly force against intruders.
The other intruder, who ran away after hearing the gunshots, later turned himself in and was charged with first-degree murder in the death of his friend.
“I wouldn’t have done it, but it was my son,” Sarah later told KOCO. “It’s not an easy decision to make, but it was either going to be him or my son. And it wasn’t going to be my son.”