Under The Gun: Part Two

By: Ryan Dearbone Email
By: Ryan Dearbone Email

Part-time Western Kentucky University Professor, Ann Barry, had just finished grading papers on a Monday night in 1997, when she went to bed not knowing that before morning would come, two men would try to rob her.

Barry had recently trained for her concealed carry permit. She said this move is the reason she's here today.

"About 11 o'clock as I saw later, I heard a loud thud sound but it didn't make any sense, so I decided to go back to sleep," Barry said.

A loud crashing sound woke her back up. "I thought ‘my word, someone is breaking in my back door’," Barry recalled.

Two men had used a pick axe to break into her Plum Springs home. Barry lived alone and her neighbors lived too far away to be of any help.

She had always kept a gun in her nightstand as a safety measure. She was also a concealed carry license holder.

"When the opportunity came along to have a carry concealed weapons license, I figured I'd need to get that because I'd have to carry that gun with me every time I went out of town by myself after dark," Barry said.

The, then 60-year-old Barry pulled out her gun and waited.

"This man came walking slowly down the hall, from the kitchen, down the hall to the bedrooms. Mine was the last bedroom and at the end of the hall," Barry said.

Twenty-eight-year-old James Shugart was the would-be robber. He walked into the guest room next door with his gun and turned on the light. Barry says that’s when things went from bad to worse.

"Then he started to turn, which meant he'd be facing me. I was right there in the dark but in the door I had to aim at him," Barry said.

So she made her move.

" ... And as he turns towards me, I shot him. It was either him or me or both of us," Barry said.

The bullet hit Shugart in his side and ended up in the guest room door. After Shugart fired off five shots at Barry, he took off out of the house.

Shugart was arrested by police after trying to escape from the botched robbery. Barry said its something she never thought could happen to her but she said her "will to survive took over."

"You can never anticipate something as horrible as that was," Barry said slowly.

In the years since her ordeal, Barry has told her story in books, on television and radio.

She said she still goes to the shooting range every so often and continues to carry her gun with her.

Shugart was sentenced to 25 years in prison and will be eligible for parole this year.

To view an excerpt from the book Guns Save Lives, in which Robert A. Waters portrays Ann Barry's encounter, click here.

And to view more information on this book and others like it, click here.

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