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An act of vigilantism by a man whose teenage son was held at gunpoint while his home was being robbed resulted with his arrest.
Josh Hillyer, 40, of 4128 Citation Lane allegedly found one of the men involved in the March 1 invasion of his home hours later at a residence on Hunter Ridge Drive.
Hillyer allegedly struck him in the head with a police baton after the suspect refused to allow Hillyer to take him to the Lawrenceburg Police Station.
Hillyer was arrested and charged with second-degree wanton endangerment, second-degree unlawful imprisonment, menacing and second-degree assault. He was taken to the Shelby County Detention Center, where he was held on a $10,00 surety bond.
Following Hillyer’s arrest, Lawrenceburg Police Chief Chris Atkins said while he understands why Hillyer responded as he did, it’s something he should not have done.
“I understand why did what he did as a father,” Atkins said. “But that doesn’t make it legal and it put everyone in a dangerous situation.”
Atkins said any notion that Hillyer was involved in a citizen’s arrest is wrong because that happens when an actual crime is in the process of taking place.
“If they were his house and he had detained him there, it would have had a different outcome. He might not have been charged,” Atkins said.
Andrew Muns, 18, of 96 Man-O-War Drive, one of four suspects in the home invasion, claims he was at 252 Hunter Ridge when Hillyer busted through the door carrying a handgun. Muns claims Hillyer pointed it at him and threatened to shoot him if he didn’t go with Hillyer to the police station.
Muns claims that Hillyer then took out a retractable police baton and struck him in the right temple while Hillyer’s 15-year-old son pointed a 9 mm handgun at him.
In his statement, Hillyer told police that he took his son with him to help identify Muns, who they found walking on Hunter Ridge.
Hillyer told police that he got out of the car and told Muns he needed to come with him to the police station. He said Muns refused to go and at one point begged him to let him turn himself in.
Hillyer said Muns then dropped what he was carrying and appeared ready to run, so gave him a “light hit” with the baton to “let him know he needed to listen.”
Hillyer said he drew his gun while approaching Muns in case he was armed, but never pointed it at him.
Hillyer is scheduled to appear in Anderson District Court on April 4 at 9 a.m.
Muns and three other suspects were all jailed shortly after the home invasion.
A fourth suspect, Ryan Ashburn, 19, of 1259 Beaver Lake Road, waited outside in what police described as a getaway vehicle.
All four are charged with first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary, theft of firearms and tampering with physical evidence.
Muns and Charles D. Peach, 18, of 215 Bluebird Court allegedly entered Hillyer’s residence with a 17-year-old Anderson County High School student, whose name is not being released because of his age.
According to police reports, the 17-year-old wore a bandana over his face and allegedly pointed a semi-automatic .9 mm handgun at Hillyer’s son and another teen inside the residence, threatening them. Police say during the invasion, the 17-year-old removed the magazine from the gun and showed the teenage victims that the gun was real and loaded.
The suspects all fled from the back door of the residence but were seen by a neighbor who called police about suspicious activity.
Police initially were unable to locate the vehicle, but the teens inside the residence were able to identify the suspects and police immediately began searching for them.
Police were able to track down the 17-year-old to a residence on Carlton Drive, where the suspect’s grandmother claimed he had come home right after school and had left for only a few minutes after that to walk to a store.
Ashburn, the alleged getaway driver, was identified and police arrested him at his home on Beaver Lake Road, where he allegedly confirmed that he had met up with Peach, Muns and the 17-year-old in the West Park Shopping Plaza after school let out that day. Ashburn told police he wasn’t aware of the planned robbery until he and the three others had left the residence and discussed what had happened, according to police reports.
Ashburn told police he had dropped off the 17-year-old near Cardinal Lane and Peach and Muns near Bluebird Court.
Ashburn was placed under arrest and warrants were issued later that night for Muns and Peach, who were arrested the following day.
The 17-year-old was taken into custody at the residence on Carlton Drive and claimed that the gun he used was an airsoft pistol and wasn’t real.
Police said a search of Ashburn’s vehicle revealed a black airsoft pistol that did not match the description or color of the ones the victim’s described as being used during the invasion.
Muns, Ashburn and Peach are scheduled to be arraigned April 11 at 9 a.m. in Anderson District Court.