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82-year-old Vietnam veteran uses butt of gun to kill alleged home invader

An elderly couple says the home invader attacked the wife with a knife.

JACKSON, S.C. — Authorities in South Carolina say a man accused of attacking an elderly couple in their home is dead after the husband fought back. 

According to the Aiken County Sheriff's, Harold L. Runnels Jr., 61, forced his way into the couple's home in Jackson on Monday. 

“I opened the door and he said he was looking for his little white chihuahua and wanted to know if I saw it. I told him, no, I didn’t,” 79-year-old Lois Parrish told WACH.

The couple told deputies that's when Runnels attacked them with a knife. Authorities say the assailant cut Lois on her forehead before her husband, Herbert Parrish, an 82-year-old Vietnam veteran, stopped the attack by repeatedly striking the intruder with the butt of a firearm. 

“I started hitting him in the head with the barrel and I know I must have hit him at least ten times right in the face, just as hard as I could hit him,” said Parrish.

A coroner says Runnels died Monday night at a hospital and an autopsy will be conducted.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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