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South Austin homeowner holds intruder at gunpoint, said he was ready to shoot

A couple woke up to a stranger standing in their bedroom with a stick and a knife in the middle of the night Sunday. (CBS Austin)

A couple woke up to a stranger standing in their bedroom with a stick and a knife in the middle of the night Sunday.

Richard Brent Prieto, 32, is charged for burglary of habitation with intent to commit assault.

According to the arrest affidavit, on March 4, 2018 at around 2:45 a.m., Robert Rodriguez and his wife were asleep when they woke up to an unknown man holding a stick and a steak knife at the foot of their bed.

It happened at their residence in the 10000 block of Gail Road, south of Slaughter Lane.

Rodriguez told CBS Austin Prieto kicked his door in, but he never heard a thing until the stranger was inside his bedroom. That's when he heard someone talking and thought it was his son, but felt his wife nudging him. When he woke up, he saw Prieto holding a steak knife from their kitchen and mumbling things that didn't make sense.

"I sat up and said, 'what the hell is going on,' and he goes, 'hey man . . . my wife is under the house and Chuck Norris is waiting for me and I'm having a hard time'," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez, a former sheriff's deputy, said that's when his law enforcement training kicked in. "I'm just slowly reaching for my weapon and he's talking and all of the sudden I grabbed my gun and trained it on him. I said 'drop the damn weapon,'" Rodriguez said.

The homeowner said with his gun in one hand, he used the other to dial 9-1-1 and warned Prieto if he made one wrong move he would shoot. "I had every right to kill him. I was ready and I swear I would have. Had he come at me I was ready. I had my gun fully loaded with 15 in the clip and one in the chamber, so it was ready to go," Rodriguez said.

Under Texas law, Rodriguez had every right to take the necessary steps to protect his family, but said he's glad he didn't have to. "Once they're in your house pretty much you can shoot to kill and don't hesitate," Rodriguez said.

Although he said he came close to pulling the trigger, Rodriguez said he was able to stay calm until Austin Police arrived. "In my case, I felt with my training I was more in control than he was and I had my weapon on him the whole time from the moment I pulled my gun to the moment the police came and took over," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said Prieto never made any type of lunging motion towards them, but showed signs of being mentally disturbed.

The homeowner is still unsure what Prieto's motive was, but said he worries what would've happened if the intruder had a gun. "Frankly I think if he would've had a gun I probably wouldn't be talking to you. I don't think the guy was motivated to do me harm, but I didn't know that. I had my weapon ready to go," Rodriguez said.

The victim's belief was that Richard's intent was to enter his residence to commit an assault because he forced entry into their home with a stick and further armed himself with one of their kitchen knives.

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