Boyle County man holds suspected burglar at gunpoint and possibly saves his life

BOYLE COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - Police say a homeowner may have saved the life of a man he held at gunpoint after he found him burglarizing his home.

Sunday afternoon Jesse Smith found a truck he didn't recognize parked in the driveway as he returned to his home on Lancaster Road. The veteran says he took his gun and cellphone with him as he walked to the house. He says he went to the back of the home and found 48-year-old Eric Collins standing behind a broken window.

"I acknowledged that my gun was loaded and that he should proceed with caution," Smith said.

Smith says Collins showed him a large cut on his arm where he tried to get out of the home through that broken window. Smith got the other man outside and helped apply a tourniquet to stop the blood flow.

"Basically just asked him to remain still and tried to get him to sit down because I was worried about the amount of blood he had lost," Smith said.

"He more than likely saved his limb and possibly his life because of the blood he was losing," said Boyle County Sheriff Marty Elliott.

Smith called 911 and says he never came close to firing his weapon.

"If I had been inside the house the situation could have been different but he fact that I was outside of the house, not enclosed, I didn't really feel threatened," he said.

Elliott says Smith did everything right.

"This is the difference between somebody who's shooting a weapon and someone who's just got one," Elliott said. "If you're going to have a weapon in a home be proficient. Understand what it is."

Collins was taken to UK Hospital for his injuries. Elliot says a deputy left him there and thought UK Police would hold him once he was out of surgery. However, the hospital released Collins once he was treated.

A spokesperson for the hospital says they cannot give prior notification to the discharge of a patient without a court order. They say if a patient is brought to them by a police agency it's the responsibility of that agency to stay with the patient.

Burgin police found Collins several hours later during a traffic stop. He's now in the Boyle County Detention Center.

Collins faces charges of burglary, driving under the influence, criminal mischief, theft by unlawful taking, and possession of handgun and firearm by a convicted felon.

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