Armed wheelchair-bound Vet thwarts Athens burglar

Mark Sikes, 53, of Clarke County

ATHENS, Ga. -- A wheelchair-bound U.S. Army vet wielded a pistol to run off a man who broke into his home in Clarke County Wednesday afternoon.

Mark Sikes, 53, was in bed at his home on Luke Road shortly after 1 p.m. when someone kicked in his front door.

“When I heard that door get kicked in, I reached into my night stand and grabbed my pistol,” Sikes said in an interview Thursday.

“I pointed the gun at him and told him he better get the hell out, and he flew out like a bat,” Sikes said. “He’s lucky I didn’t kill him.”

Sikes said he didn’t notice that the burglar had a weapon, but was prepared to shoot.

“I wasn’t going to wait to see if he had one,” Sikes said. “All I know is he was in my house. Things are starting to get out of hand, and if people don’t start standing up for themselves and putting crooks in the ground, the law is just going to slap them on the wrist and let them go.”

Athens-Clarke police said they identified a possible suspect from evidence he dropped at the scene.

“I heard he was 19 years old, and that young man is playing a stupid game in which he could lose his life,” Sikes said.

Sikes grew up with guns. His father taught him to shoot and took him hunting as a boy, he said.

The man said he also saw combat in the military, but didn’t want to talk about it.

“I’m having a hard enough time dealing with what’s been going on” since the burglary, he said. “Now it’s going to cost me a bunch of money that I really don’t have to get that door fixed.”

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