CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga.- A local pastor shot a burglar who was trying to break into his home early Thursday, according to the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office.
It was the dead of night -- 2:40 a.m. -- when police got a call about a burglary in progress at a home on Sante Fe Trail.
By the time officers arrived, 19-year-old Donavan Simmons was on the ground with a gunshot wound to his head.
According to police, the suspect tried to gain entry into the home through the basement when the homeowner shot in the general direction of the intruder.
Simmons was struck in the head. He was transported to the hospital and underwent surgery. He was listed in stable condition.
"As far as we know there’s only one person involved," said Sgt. Marianne Kelley of the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office. "The family did feel like they heard somebody else speaking in the basement, so that’s why the deputies cleared it to make sure there was nobody else inside. They did not locate anybody else."
A neighbor identified the homeowner as the father of three and a pastor at Euharlee Baptist Church in Cartersville.
There were five people present inside the home at the time of the attempted burglary, including the pastor's children, aged 6, 7 and 12. None of them were injured.
“I would say when your children are at risk you just have to take care of your kids,” neighbor Sandy Schaferling said. “Anything, really anything it’s your job to protect them.”
Another neighbor, Ledlie Conger, mentioned she experienced a home invasion two months ago when someone came through her garage.
“I’m just shocked,” Conger said. “I’ve lived in the neighborhood for over 20 years. Never had any issues like this.”
The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office said the family thought they heard someone else speaking in the basement, but the deputies didn’t find anyone.
Simmons was treated and released from the hospital. He's charged with burglary - residential, terroristic threats and possession of schedule IV with intent to distribute. Bond was set at $16,000.
The homeowner will not face charges.