Kaufman County Texas—23 May 2019: Nikusubila Makwangwala (born in Texas as Bobby Reynard Emerson) probably thought he had picked out the perfect house. A semi-rural neighborhood with really large, expensive houses that were spaced well apart from each other. Makwangwala pulled his red pickup in the driveway and looked the house over.
It was late morning and the homeowners were likely to be at work—perfect. Just to be certain, he went to the front door and banged on it several times. With no response, he went around to the back of the house and discovered a back door he could easily kick open. Several kicks and he was inside. Makwangwala headed for the bedroom where most people keep jewelry, money, guns, and other valuables. Ideal for a quick entry, grab the stuff, and exit back to I-20 and Dallas.
However, the home was occupied. Makwangwala’s loud banging on the front door awakened the homeowner who did not answer the door because she did not recognize Makwangwala nor his red pickup in the driveway. She immediately called 911; however, the sheriff’s response time can be a bit slow as you would reasonably expect for a rural area. When she heard Makwangwala kick in the back door, she grabbed a gun, retreated to the bedroom, and hid in the closet—all the while telling the 911 dispatcher what was happening.
As Makwangwala started toward the bedroom did he hear her talking? Did he hear her in the closet? We’ll never know. What we do know is that once he entered the bedroom, he opened the closet door and confronted the homeowner who fatally shot him.
Makwangwala was a career criminal with an extensive arrest record dating back to 1989 when he was 16 years old. Makwangwala had twelve felony convictions for Aggravated Robbery, Burglary of a Habitation, a Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Robbery, Theft, and Illegal Drug Possession. He had been in and out of the Texas prison system numerous times and was on probation at the time of his last burglary. Poor Makwangwala, no more felonies for you.
In Texas, using force against an intruder who you know or have reason to believe was unlawfully and with force entering or attempting to enter unlawfully and with force your occupied habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment is presumed reasonable under certain circumstances. Therefore, the homeowner is unlikely to face any criminal charges associated with Makwangwala’s death. Civil action on Makwangwala’s relatives’ part is another issue—you can always be sued civilly.
A key step in home security is to make it as difficult as possible for someone to enter your home. Most pre-hung doors are not very sturdy and therefore it is relatively easy for a burglar to kick them open as shown in this video: Home Burglary
One solution to ensure that no one can simply kick in your exterior doors is to install heavy metal doors and frames, very decorative and somewhat costly; however, no human can kick them in.
For exterior wooden doors (make sure they are solid wood at least 1-3/4 to 2 inches thick), you can install the Strikemaster II Pro or similar products such as the Door Armor Max (formerly EZ Armor), or Door Security Pro to reinforce the door jams and hinges. I did this as the house was being built so it was relatively painless; however, they are not that difficult to install.
Your home security plan should also include a safe room or rooms. A wood bedroom door made from at least 1-1/2 solid wood, with a deadbolt, and reinforced frame and hinges will make it impossible to enter the bedroom without power tools to breach the door. Once you retreat to the secure bedroom or other safe room you can call 911 and prepare to take other necessary action as the homeowner did in this instance.
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