Homeowner feels 'lucky to be alive' after being shot by burglar

Willie Gatewood (Source: Shelby County Sheriff's Department)
Willie Gatewood (Source: Shelby County Sheriff's Department)
Dennis Roberts says he feels lucky to be alive.
Dennis Roberts says he feels lucky to be alive.

By Jamel Major - bio | email

EADS, TN (WMC-TV) - An Eads homeowner feels lucky to be alive after he was shot by a burglar Wednesday afternoon.

For Dennis Roberts, fear set in the moment he encountered 52-year-old Willie Gatewood.

Gatwood shot Roberts Wednesday afternoon after breaking into his home on Macon Road. The bullet pierced Roberts' left wrist, and struck the upper left side of the heavy duty jacket he was wearing.

"The shot went through here, bounced off my chest and onto my arm," Roberts said.

Roberts had just returned home Wednesday afternoon from running errands when he noticed Gatewood's vehicle parked in his driveway.  After walking up to the front door of his home, Roberts quickly realized the front door had been pried open.

"When I realized his truck was running I went straight to his truck and grabbed his keys and cell phone out of the seat," he said.

Roberts then saw Gatewood walking towards him with a duffle bag.  Gatewood pointed his gun at Roberts and fired.  

"When I went down, that's when I dropped the keys because my hand went numb," Roberts said. "It was burning.  He got his keys and left."

Roberts called a neighbor who, who called 911.  Meanwhile, he was just glad to be wearing his jacket.

"I'm lucky to be alive," he said. "I really think it was the jacket that saved me."

If you have information that could help authorities apprehend Willie Gatewood, you are asked to call CrimeStoppers at 901-528-CASH.

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