Iredell County homeowner holds intruder at gunpoint after break-in

Homeowner holds intruder at gunpoint until deputies arrive

IREDELL COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - Iredell County resident Leo Hearst received a surprise like no other when he entered his home Monday afternoon. He said he could tell his dogs were spooked and he could sense something wasn’t right.

“I heard a strange noise, not a loud noise. It just didn’t seem right,” said Hearst.

He said he took his handgun and searched the house. It didn’t take long for him to find a man hiding inside one of the bathrooms in his home.

“When I turned around, I saw somebody behind the door in the bathroom. That’s when I raised my gun up and told him to get on the floor,” explained Hearst.

He said the intruder was having trouble staying still and continued to ask that Hearst not call the police. Hearst said the man had been looking to steal his wife’s jewelry.

“I told him, ‘Stay still. If I have to, I will shoot you’,” said Hearst.

The homeowner said he was angry the man had entered his home, but he was also a little scared.

“If he wanted to, he could have stopped me from trying to stop him from getting out. I’m glad it didn’t happen that way, but like I said, if it got ugly then I’ve got the gun and I will use it,” elaborated Hearst.

He said he had called 911 and deputies from the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office arrived within minutes and arrested the intruder. Law enforcement identified the man as Brandon Knight. They believe he had stolen items from another nearby home prior to breaking into Hearst’s house.

Surveillance cameras mounted on Hearst’s home recorded Knight in action.

Hearst credits his concealed carry firearms training for helping him know what to do during the break-in.

The suspect is facing two counts of felony breaking and entering, and two counts of felony larceny after breaking and entering. Deputies say Knight could also be facing charges for a third break-in.

They say the suspect was on probation for a conviction in another county of felony breaking and entering.

Hearst is now in jail in Iredell County under a $30,000 bond.

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