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Home invaders thwarted by return fire

Originally ran here as:
"Woman injured in home invasion"
by Paula Reed Ward
Savannah NOW
October 03, 2001

Suspects fled after barrage of gunfire. Police are investigating but have made no arrests.

Chris and Tracy Cummings had been asleep for about three hours Monday night, when they awoke to hear the front door of their home being kicked in.

Chris immediately grabbed the 9 mm handgun his wife bought him last Christmas and stood up.

"By that time, they kicked the (bedroom) door in and started firing," he said.

Cummings returned fire, emptying one clip and starting another.

By the end of the 2 a.m. fire fight, about 30 rounds had been exchanged, and Tracy Cummings was shot in the left shoulder.

The suspect -- or suspects, police aren't sure how many people were involved -- fled the scene.

The shots fired from them came from an assault rifle and a .45 caliber handgun, said Sgt. Mike Wilson, a spokesman with the Chatham County police.

Investigators don't believe the suspects were injured.

"I guess they weren't expecting firepower, or for me to have a weapon," Cummings said.

No arrests have been made, but officers from the Savannah-Chatham police multijurisdictional home invasion task force are investigating.

Police have not released a motive in the incident.

"I'm thinking maybe they had the wrong house, because I don't have any beef with anybody," Cummings said.

Neighbors in the quiet Brandlewood subdivision were surprised something like the shooting could happen in their neighborhood. On Tuesday evening, residents were out washing their cars on the well-manicured Brandlewood Drive, trying to go about their regular routines.

Several people on the street talked about the incident but were afraid to give their names for fear of retaliation.

The Cummings have lived in the subdivision for six years.

There have been at least six other home invasions in the county since January, Wilson said, and several more within the city of Savannah.

"This was an immediate, violent, tumultuous intrusion," Wilson said. "(Cummings) acted legally within his rights to protect his home."

Tracy Cummings was listed in good condition at Memorial Health University Medical Center Tuesday.

"She's hurting. She's scared, but her spirits are up," Cummings said.

When the shooting began, Tracy Cummings, a school teacher, rolled onto the floor. Her husband went to help her afterward and felt a wet spot on her. Realizing she had been shot, he told her to hide in the closet. Chris Cummings then called police on his cellular phone.

Although nothing was stolen, Cummings said three rooms of his house were riddled with bullets, and three doors were destroyed.

"I thank God. We just pray, not only for ourselves, but for those people who entered our house."

Crime and public safety reporter Paula Reed Ward can be reached at 652-0360

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