Columbiana couple recovering after home invasion skirmish

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Two suspects armed with crowbars and a bogus plea for help invaded a Columbiana home Saturday night, sending a husband and wife to a nearby hospital for treatment.

Shelby County Sheriff&8217;s Deputies responded to a 911 call from the 1000 block of Mooney road at around 7 p.m., shortly after 66-year-old Thomas Brookshire opened his front door to a man asking to use his phone.

&8220;He said he had run out of gas on his four-wheeler,&8221; Brookshire said. &8220;He stepped into the house and started to walk by, so I handed him the phone.&8221;

When Brookshire turned away, the assailant struck him over the head with a crowbar.

&8220;When I came to, he was taping my hands together,&8221; Brookshire said. &8220;By that time a girl had entered the house and my wife and her had gotten into a scuffle.&8221;

Both Brookshires were taken to Shelby Baptist Medical Center where Thomas received five stitches and Elizabeth was treated for bruises.

Two of the couple&8217;s grandchildren, ages 6 and 9, were visiting at the time of the incident and hid in another room.

&8220;They&8217;re both doing fine,&8221; Brookshire said. &8220;They didn&8217;t mess with them, thank goodness.&8221;

The suspects remain at large after escaping with Elizabeth Brookshire&8217;s purse. They were described as a white male of medium build around 5-foot-10 wearing black face paint and camouflage clothing and a white female of medium build wearing a face mask with dark clothing.

Thomas Brookshire said the female assailant repeatedly called the male intruder by the name &8220;James&8221;.

Shelby County Sheriff Chris Curry said the incident was the third &8220;rather prominent&8221; home invasion case his office has dealt with in the past three years.

&8220;This is very severe for a couple of reasons,&8221; Curry said. &8220;It puts good, honest people in fear inside their own home.

&8220;Obviously, I want to catch these people because I don&8217;t want this type of thing to happen anymore.&8221;

Recent home invasion cases ended when alleged intruders were captured, or in one instance, when victims decided to fight back.

Perhaps the most notorious case occurred last year when perpetrator William Clint O&8217;Shields was shot and killed during a home invasion in Chelsea.

Curry said deputies would re-canvass the Columbiana neighborhood after unconfirmed reports surfaced Monday morning suggesting the intruders may have visited other nearby homes prior to the incident.

The suspects fled the scene in a vehicle described as a dark SUV or minivan.

&8220;This is an unusual occurrence for this neighborhood, and all residents are encouraged to be alert for any suspicious activity or persons fitting this description,&8221; Curry said. &8220;The investigation is continuing. Anyone with information concerning this case, please call the Shelby County Sheriff&8217;s Office at 205-669-4181.&8221;