A Florida teenager shot-and-killed an intruder on the morning of September 8. That intruder turned out to be 18-year-old Malachi Heisler’s father, John Heisler. The family were estranged at the time of the shooting. Malachi lived at the St. Petersburg home with his mother, her boyfriend, and his 13-year-old sister.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Malachi Told Police That He Was ‘In Fear for His Life’
In a statement, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said that Malachi saw his father pointing a gun at his mother inside the family home on the morning of September 8. Malachi opened fire with his rifle and killed the intruder. The statement says “In fear for his life, Malachi Heisler fired his weapon striking (John) Heisler in the upper body.” His 13-year-old sister, Magenta, was in the home at the time and was unharmed. Malachi told WBAY “It’s probably better that she stayed asleep.” Bay News 9 reports that John Heisler was armed with a BB gun.
2. He Called it a Standoff Between Him & His Dad
Speaking briefly to WFLA, Malachi said “It was a standoff between me and him. He had his pistol and I had my rifle. A bullet is a bullet, one shot, you’re dead.” He later told Bay News 9, “It’s not something you prepare for. You don’t expect a burglary every day. You don’t expect the person to be who it is.”
3. He Opened Fire on His Father ‘5 or 6 Seconds’ After Opening His Door
The intruder was later named as 46-year-old John Heisler. He’s the former boyfriend of Malachi’s mother, Jolene Andrews. WFLA reports that Andrews and her live-in boyfriend, Alton Pyles, 47, heard a noise outside of their home just after midnight on September 8. When they went outside to investigate, the couple found John Heisler, armed, wearing a ski mask and tactical gear. He chased Andrews and Pyles into the home, which resulted in Malachi opening fire. WBAY reports that Malachi opened fire, “five or six seconds” after coming out of his room. He said “At this point…it didn’t matter. The decision was made.”
4. John Heisler Had a History of Drug & Alcohol Problems
Earlier in 2015, John Heisler had a restraining order taken out against him by his family. In April 2015, he was arrested on a gun charge and was later released on a $10,000 bail. Malachi told WFLA “He wasn’t a good dad, no f**king father of the year awards.” The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that the injunction against John Heisler had recently been extended until May 2016. Bay News 9 reports that in April 2015, John Heisler broke into the same home, along 43rd Avenue North in Unincorporated St. Petersburg, but wasn’t charged with a crime because it was technically his home, reports Bay News 9. The station adds that he has a history of drug and alcohol problems. The St. Petersburg Tribune referred to John Heisler as a “transient.”
5. His Mother Is ‘Still Freaked’ About the Incident
According to his Facebook page, Malachi is a native of St. Petersburg. He’s multi-lingual, speaking Spanish and German. Malachi also says that he’s single. On the morning of September 9, his mother wrote on her Facebook page that she still couldn’t sleep after the shooting.