PLEASANT HILL, Iowa — Thursday morning’s 4:30 wake up call to dogs barking was nothing unusual, “The dogs usually get up around that time to go outside,” said Billy Sowder Jr. What alarmed him were the doors to his vehicles open in the driveway of his Pleasant Hill home and two licensed firearms, a muzzle loader and .40 caliber Smith & Wesson, missing from his truck. Billy said, “I went to my gun cabinet and grabbed my AR and quietly walked outside.” That is when he confronted the suspect breaking into another vehicle in his neighbor’s driveway. “I asked what are you doing? He immediately took off,” said Billy. He admits to thinking about pulling the trigger right there but didn’t. He said, “I was hiding behind my neighbor’s smoker and had the shot to take but had no present danger to my life. I had no stand my ground to really support me just shooting the guy running away.”
So Billy chased after the suspect on foot but he lost grip of the rifle in the process. “I chased after him about 250 yards across Pleasant Hill boulevard and along my neighbor’s land. The closer I got, I was about 15-20 yards away when he decided to turn around and shot at me,” said Billy. The shot was a miss. He added, “He turned his body, I saw the muzzle flash.”
Billy knew then and there, the chase was over. “It did sound like it was a .40 caliber Smith & Wesson that was in my truck,” said Billy. As billy returned to the warmth of his home, he debated whether his actions were courageous or foolish. he says he hopes his actions make thieves aware that his home and cars are not for the taking. He said, “I don’t want my family to get hurt. I don’t want this guy getting away thinking he can always come back when my family is here.” A loving family that Billy is thankful he can come home to as police search for the suspect. “That really puts things in perspective when I got back and hugged my wife and daughter.”
Billy says police have recovered the muzzle loader and a possible backpack used by the suspect. Police have not found the suspect or the forty caliber handgun.