A Florida teenager who shot and killed his own father Tuesday morning says he did so in self defense.
Investigators are now calling it a justifiable homicide after 18-year-old Malachi Heisler fatally shot his father, John Heisler, 46, during a break-in at the family’s St. Petersburg home, WFLA reported.
“I woke up to my name being called, okay. I heard the words Malachi and help, that’s all I heard when I woke up,” Malachi told reporters in front of his home (video below). He spoke with a bandana covering the lower part of his face. “He pointed it at my mother first, and then when I came out of the room he pointed it at me.
“So picture in your head, it was a standoff between me and him. He had his pistol and I had my rifle. It doesn’t matter a bullet is a bullet, one shot, you’re dead.”
Police said the father forced his way into the home Tuesday morning, carrying two guns. Malachi was home with his mother, her boyfriend and his younger sister at the time.
Malachi told the news station he only had a few seconds to make a decision and did not know the masked intruder was his father until after he fired his assault rifle.
“Think of it as a SWAT get up, you see what SWAT members wear,” Malachi said of his father’s clothing at the time. “Think that, except without a helmet, it was a ski mask.”
The boy was questioned for hours by detectives following the shooting.
“At first it felt like I made the wrong decision. That’s how they made me feel,” Malachi said. “At first it felt like I made the complete wrong decision, everybody was raised voices, k9 units, guns pointed at me.”
Malachi's mother had a restraining order against his father after a domestic dispute that occurred in April, according to the Tampa Bay Times. The dispute revolved around John's firearms, which, as a felon, he was not allowed to have. John was charged with felony possession of firearms after the incident.
Due to this domestic violence injunction, John was not allowed to enter his ex's house, his ex's workplace, the high school that Malachi attends, or the middle school that Malachi's 13-year-old sister (who is also John's daughter) attends.
“I had a feeling that something like this would happen but I didn’t know when,” said Malachi, adding that he believes his father was there to kill him. “He wanted to scare us first, and then kill us while we were afraid.”
WFLA reported that Malachi’s father had a history of substance abuse, alcohol abuse and mental illness. Investigators determined that the two guns Heisler had were actually just BB guns, and it is not clear what his intentions were.
In speaking with the Tampa Bay Times, Malachi said the incident could have been worse if he didn’t take action.
“If I didn't, people would be dead, and more than one,” he said. “He wasn't a good dad. I'll say that.”
Photo Credit: Screenshot from YouTube