Machete-wielding man nearly cuts off suspected burglar’s hand

Suspect was homeowner’s friend, neighbor

Machete-wielding man nearly cuts off suspected burglar’s hand
Homeowner Shannon Steele says he swung the machete at the suspect in self-defense, as the man was trying to force his way into the house. (Source: WSAZ/CNN)

ONA, WV (WSAZ/CNN) - A West Virginia homeowner says he used a machete in self-defense against his friend and neighbor who had allegedly been trying to force his way into the home.

Shannon Steele, a telemarketer who lives with his mother in Ona, WV, says he typically considers himself slow to violence. He never thought he’d use the machete he owns on another human.

But that’s what happened Tuesday.

Steele says his house has been broken into four or five times over the last couple years, and he began to suspect his own friend, who lives in a mobile home park across the street.

Machete-wielding man nearly cuts off suspected burglar's hand

So, the homeowner told his friend Tuesday morning on the phone that he wasn’t home. Then, he waited inside the home to see what would happen.

He says, sadly, his suspicion about the friend was confirmed.

"I wanted to see if he was the one stealing my stuff, and sure enough, he is,” Steele said. "The sad thing is he knows my dog, so my dog doesn't attack."

Steele says his friend kicked a side door in, so the homeowner grabbed a machete that was in his room and started swinging in self-defense.

"Oh, that was self-defense. ‘Get out of here. Go. What are you doing? Get out of here.’ That's what I was doing,” Steele said.

The suspect took off running after he was hit with the machete, Steele says. The Cabell County Sheriff says the man’s hand was nearly cut off.

Steele says just a couple weeks ago, he’d bought a pair of bicycles for him and his friend to ride.

"I bought the dude a bike to ride with me, and he's gonna steal from me? That's crazy,” Steele said. "I don't think he'll be stealing from somebody's house again."

After the incident, Steele says he’s not optimistic their friendship can ever be mended.

"I hope you heal soon,” he said. “Sorry. You shouldn't have done it."

The sheriff says the suspect will likely be charged, but no charges are expected to be filed against Steele.

Deputies took Steele’s machete.

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