AN OFF-duty deputy bravely protected her children by shooting an ax-wielding intruder who had broken into her home.
Bridget Erwin shot suspect Steven Thayer multiple times in the lower extremities following the alleged break-in on Tuesday night, according to authorities in Florida.
The Orange County Sheriff's Office said Thayer had attempted to break into several homes in the area.
"I'm very satisfied with her performance. I think she did a great job," Sheriff John Mina said, according to Spectrum News.
"She protected herself and she protected her kids who were home with her.
"Just like any normal person, she was shaken up by this. Someone tried to break into her home with an ax."
Erwin said she was lying down in her Apopka home when she heard a knock at the door.
"It wasn't at the front door," she heard her 13-year-old daughter say, according to Click Orlando.
She said she heard the glass break and her children started screaming, and she ran to get her weapon.
Her son saw the suspect with the ax after he entered the home, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Erwin shot the assailant multiple times. She then told her kids to grab her handcuffs and call 911, according to Click Orlando.
A police photo shows the ax sitting in the shattered door.
"She was in fear for her life and lives of her children, so she shot the suspect multiple times," Sheriff Mina told reporters.
Thayer had tried to break into a home in the same neighborhood moments before the attack at Erwin's residence, according to the TV station.
Deputies were responding to that call at the time.
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Thayer, who has been arrested multiple times, is expected to survive. He will face charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and armed burglary of an occupied dwelling with a deadly weapon.
Neighbor Mike Largent told WFTV: "My wife and kids are safe, and I'm glad the deputy's safe and that her kids are safe, because that's what really matters."
Erwin has been a deputy with the sheriff's office since 2018.
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