Sarah McKinley, an 18-year-old widow and single mother from Oklahoma, had a 3-month-old baby. Sarah’s husband had died of lung cancer on Christmas Day. It had only been a week since her husband’s death when, on New Year’s Eve 2011, while she was home alone with her 3-month-old baby, suddenly two men began pounding on her door and trying to force their way inside.

One of them was 24-year-old Justin Martin, and the other was 29-year-old Dustin Stewart. Justin attempted to break into the house while armed with a knife. At the time, Sarah was unaware that the man was a drug addict who had come to her house to steal her husband’s cancer medication.

Sarah called 911 and asked for help. She asked the dispatchers if she could shoot the man who was forcibly trying to enter her house. “I’ve got two guns in my hand. Is it OK to shoot him if he comes in this door?”

According to BBC News, the operator responded, “Well, you have to do whatever you can to protect yourself. I can’t tell you that you can do that, but you have to do what you have to do to protect your baby.”

As soon as Justin stepped inside the house, Sarah shot him, and he died on the spot. Hearing the gunshot, Stewart fled from outside. Shortly after, Stewart also called 911 dispatch and said, “My name is Dusty Stewart, and I think it was my friend that got shot.”

He also added, “I don’t know what he was trying to do. I stood at the fence and told him to come on, and I don’t know what he did.”

Oklahoma law permits the use of deadly force against an intruder. Prosecutors in Blanchard, Oklahoma, also deemed Sarah’s shooting as self-defense.

According to Sarah, it took authorities 21 minutes to arrive after her 911 call. She also said that if it wasn’t for the need to protect her baby, she would never have shot. At that moment, she was solely trying to save her child.

No charges were filed against Sarah. Stewart was charged with first-degree murder. “When you’re engaged in a crime such as first-degree burglary and death results from the events of that crime, you’re subject to prosecution for it,” Assistant District Attorney James Walters told The Oklahoman.

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