When a law-abiding citizen buys a firearm, he may hope to never have to use it. In the case of Harvey Lembo, the time between buying a revolver and firing it on a home intruder was only hours.
Lembo, a 67-year-old retired Maine lobsterman from Rockland, Maine, is disabled and uses a motorized wheelchair.
His home has been invaded five times in six years, with growing frequency. Fed up after an August burglary, Lembo took his neighbor’s advice and bought a revolver on Aug. 31.
That night while in bed, Lembo heard his apartment being broken into. “I had the gun under my pillow,” he told WGME. “I reached out and I cocked it. And I got in my wheelchair.”
Lembo got the jump on his alleged intruder, 45-year-old Christopher Wildhaber of Rockland. Wildhaber had apparently come to steal from Lembo’s stash of prescription pills.
“I screamed at him to stop,” says Lembo. “And I told him to go sit on the coffee table or I’d blow his brains out. I still had the gun in my hand. And I’m trying to dial 911 with the gun in my hand.”
Wildhaber, despite having a gun pointed at him, reportedly attempted to escape. That’s when Lembo fired.
“I shot him, yes,” said Lembo. “I shot just like that. Just barely missed the side of the wall. Got him in the shoulder. If he’d had sat there, nothing would have happened. But he wanted to leave. And I’ve had enough of it. I’ve had enough.”
Wildhaber escaped from the apartment but police found him because of the blood trail he left. He was apprehended after a short struggle.
It is up to the district attorney to determine whether or not Lembo could be tried for using deadly force. No decision has yet been made.
Lembo has the support of his community, WGME reports. “He had definitely been the victim of numerous burglaries before this,” says Rockland Deputy Police Chief Christopher Young.
The landlord of Lembo's apartment complex does not allow guns on the premises and has told Lembo to either relinquish his firearm or move, WCSH6 reports. Lembo has agreed to give up his gun on the condition that building's security be improved.