A man from Phalba is being called a hero. He shot and killed a thief on his family's property early Tuesday morning while the thief was holding his father at gun point.
It was the middle of the night and for some reason Weldon Atherton woke up.
"And about that time I seen this guy walk up in my yard, walk by my truck and went over to my four wheelers and started looking at both of them," Atherton said."
But before Atherton could grab his gun the man ran back to his truck. Atherton thought it was strange and got his gun ready in case the intruder came back.
Pretty soon, he did.
"I walked up behind him, I tapped my rifle on his back and he raised up and he said 'Oh sir, please don't shoot me. Don't shoot me. I'm homeless. Don't shoot me,'" Atherton said. "And he started to take a step to me like he was going to grab the gun and I cocked my gun and I said 'Don't take another step. I will shoot you.'"
The thief ran off but Atherton didn't want him to get away. He noticed the thief's truck running and went over there.
"Opened the door and I reached in and I [turned off the ignition] and that's when I let my guard down," Atherton said.
There was scuffle and Atherton's finger got caught in the gun. The gun went off, but soon the thief turned the tables and had Atherton at gun point. That shot woke up Atherton's 33-year-old son Jonathan.
"He was fixing to kill my dad," Jonathan said. "So there was no thought in my head but to put a bullet in his."
With his dad all the way out in the road and staring down the barrel of a gun, Jonathan was still about 150 feet away and in the dark, shooting from his truck, he managed to hit the thief with one shot.
"I don't miss," Jonathan said.
Jonathan said he would do it again if he had to.
"Only thing I saw was a man coming up out of the ditch and my dad was bent over holding his head and I done thought he done shot my dad," he said.
His dad said he would do the same for him.
The Van Zandt County Sheriff's Department has finished its investigation and did not file charges. Now it's up to the district attorney to decide what to do with the case.
The thief still hasn't been identified.