UPDATE: Intruder dies after getting battered by elderly homeowners

Neighbor says suspect ‘decided to knock on the wrong door’
Updated: Feb. 16, 2021 at 5:49 PM MST
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BEECH ISLAND, S.C. (KOLD News 13) - An armed intruder in South Carolina has died after an elderly military veteran and his wife fought back.

According to WRDW, it happen Monday afternoon at a home near Beech Island, which is about 20 miles southeast of Augusta, GA.

“It’s a really good neighborhood. Nothing like this usually happens,” said neighbor Alyssa Hill.

Authorities said 61-year-old Harold L. Runnels Jr., who was armed with a knife, knocked on the front door and claimed he was looking for his dog.

Runnels pushed his way inside when the home owners, an 82-year-old man and his 79-year-old wife, opened the door.

Runnels then used the knife handle to start beating the man and woman. The woman fell down, injuring her index finger, and Runnels continued the attack by using the sharp point of the knife on the woman, causing a laceration to her forehead.

During the attack, the husband used the handle of his gun to defend himself and his wife, according to deputies.

Runnels fell to the floor, conscious but non-responsive. Arriving deputies found him on the floor covered in blood.

“I’m pretty sure everyone around here feels some type of way now. Everyone’s saying make sure your doors are locked, don’t go anywhere, don’t answer the door,” Hill said.

Runnels was taken into custody and died at a local hospital. The homeowners were treated for knife wounds.

“I was kind of worried because I don’t know who would come after an elderly couple,” Hill said. “He decided to knock on the wrong door.”

Deputies said they believe the incident was a random crime.

The couple told deputies they’d seen Runnels walking through the neighborhood but didn’t know the reason for the attack.

According to the incident report, Runnels lived only a block or two from the victims, which could explain why they had seen him in the area.

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