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Case Study: Woman Wards Off Three Armed Intruders, Fatally Shoots One

Case Study: Woman Wards Off Three Armed Intruders, Fatally Shoots One

As concealed carriers, one of the best training tools we have is to study a variety of self-defense cases and learn from them.

By evaluating these situations and looking at what went wrong, what went right, and how it might have been handled differently, we gain a better understanding of how these incidents unfold and become better prepared to defend ourselves.

On September 16, 2016, an Atlanta restaurant manager successfully defended her home against three armed intruders when they broke in looking for cash. Let’s get into it.

Incident Breakdown

Just before 3:45 a.m. in an unincorporated neighborhood just outside of Atlanta, Georgia, two residents were asleep in their separate rooms when three men broke into the house.

The event was captured on the home’s security system, so you can clearly see what went down from two different angles. Official footage of the incident can be viewed here, so you can watch what happened for yourself. WARNING: the video may be disturbing to some viewers.

At the beginning of the video, three men are seen entering the house through the front door, each armed with a pistol. They quickly spread out, looking throughout the home, which is filled with boxes and restaurant supplies as it was being occupied by local seafood restaurant manager Chen Fengzhu, and one of her employees, Ruben Mejia, for work-related reasons, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

One man, seen in the video wearing a wig, heads toward the kitchen, one in a hat heads down the hall, and another wearing a white hoodie spends a moment trying to close the front door. The man closing the door hears something going on down the hallway and goes to check it out with his gun drawn.

Although we can’t see it in the video, the men were in Meija’s room during this time, holding a gun to his head and demanding money, he told WSB-TV 2 in an interview.

"They come inside my house, they break the door," Mejia said. "They asked me about money. I say, ‘I don't have any money.’"

Knowing that Chen was asleep in her room down the hall, Mejia reportedly tried to make as much noise as possible in hopes that she would wake up and call 911.

Case Note: This is an excellent example of staying calm and compliant in a life-threatening situation, while still taking steps to raise the alarm. In this incident, Mejia did a great job of alerting the other person in the house that there was danger, without tipping off the invaders to her whereabouts.

In the video, we then see the man in the hoodie walking back into the frame and talking with the man in the wig. The two of them head into the kitchen, look out the back door, and walk back into the entryway. The one wearing the hoodie goes back down the hall toward Mejia’s room and trades places with the man in the hat, who reappears on camera.

That’s when we see Chen appear in the hallway at the back of the house. The two men immediately notice her, point their guns in her direction, and start moving toward her. Chen begins firing her weapon, and the men duck and run out the front door. Chen, who is holding her pistol in one hand and her phone with police dispatch on the line in the other, chases after them – continuing to shoot.

“First, I chose to call 911. I called on the phone while I took out the pistol, but my phone call couldn’t get through. So I had to open fire on them while calling 911,” Chen later recounted in an interview with the CCTV Video News Agency. “I didn’t feel scared at that moment, and all I thought about was how to deal with the situation.”

Case Note: Whenever possible, it’s always best to call the police before engaging with a home intruder. It is important to get help on the way as quickly as possible in these situations, as it will take some time for them to arrive.

The man in the hoodie then comes flying out of the other hallway, running in front of her and pointing his gun at her as he passes by. Chen continues shooting out the front door at the other two men, striking one in the torso, and the man in the hoodie runs through the kitchen and out the back door, breaking the glass to get out. Police said at least one of the men returned fire during the incident.

Case Note: In a situation like a home invasion, it’s important to remember your safety should be your top priority. Take cover whenever possible to protect yourself in the event the intruders shoot back. Fortunately, the residents in this case were uninjured, but it could have taken a very different turn if one of their bullets had found its mark.

Once the intruders were gone, the video shows Chen and Mejia walking through the house and turning on the lights. They check to make sure one another is okay, and Mejia takes the gun from Chen, finding she had completely emptied it on the intruders.

Case Note: Once a home invader retreats, it’s highly recommended to return to a safe room, lock the door, and wait for authorities to arrive as you never know for sure how many intruders are in your house. Like in this case, robbers often work in groups, and there is always the risk that another intruder is lurking around the corner.

The Aftermath

When police arrived at the house, they found one of the burglars (the one seen wearing a wig in the video) lying in the driveway. The man, who they later identified as 28-year-old Antonio Leeks, had been shot in the torso and died at the scene after first responders attempted life-saving measures, according to a Gwinnett County Police press release.

“Police took off the burglar’s clothes and attempted to resuscitate him for about 15 to 20 minutes, and then they told me they had failed to save him,” Chen told CCTV+.

Chen and Mejia were both transported to the Gwinnett County Police Headquarters for questioning, but no charges were brought against Chen as she was found to have acted in self-defense, according to a WSB-TV 2 report. Georgia is a Castle Doctrine state and has a “stand your ground” law, meaning a person does not have a duty to retreat before using deadly force when faced with a forcible felony – like armed robbery, according to the U.S. Concealed Carry Association.

"She exercised her right to defend her livelihood and property," Cpl. Deon Washington with the Gwinnett County Police Department told WSB-TV 2.

A police investigation revealed that the two remaining suspects had likely fled the scene by vehicle. Although they expected the suspects to be quickly apprehended thanks to the security footage that clearly caught their faces on camera, it wasn’t until 18 months later that one of the remaining suspects was identified. The other was still at large at the time of this writing.

The suspect who was caught – the man who is seen wearing the hoodie in the video – was identified as 35-year-old Bernard Eugene Little from Atlanta. Little was arrested on March 29, 2018, booked into the Gwinnett County Jail, and charged with felony murder and armed robbery.

In the state of Georgia, if someone is committing a felony and another person dies as a result, they can be charged with murder even if they were not the one who killed them. Or, as Georgia Code 16-5-1 states, “A person commits the offense of murder when, in the commission of a felony, he or she causes the death of another human being irrespective of malice.”


After learning the details of the encounter, it’s time to reflect on what happened and how you might have handled the same situation.

Do you think the shooter was justified in this incident? Why or why not? Do you think there was anything that could or should have been done differently? How would you have handled the same situation? Be sure to share your thoughts on this concealed carry case with us on social media @VedderHolsters.

Knowledge is power, and analyzing incidents like these can only serve to better prepare you to respond appropriately in the event you are faced with a similar situation. For more resources on training, information on local gun control and concealed carry laws, and general CCW tips, check out the U.S. Concealed Carry Association.

If you’re looking for a new IWB, OWB, or pocket carry holster, visit our Holsters by Gun Model page for Kydex holsters that are custom-made for your weapon of choice.

Interested in items beyond holsters? Check out our Resources Page for links to recommended products like lights, lasers, first aid, maintenance, and more, and browse our selection of belts, apparel, and accessories at our website,

To stay up-to-date on all the latest Vedder Holsters content and offerings, check out our blog and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And be sure to visit our sister company, GeoGrit, for all of your American-made minimalist wallet needs.

Mikayla Blair

After launching her career as an award-winning journalist in the American Southwest, Mikayla Blair joined the Vedder Holsters team as a content writer in 2021. She writes about all things guns, holsters, and concealed carry, and is especially passionate about women's self-defense.

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