Waseca man praised by police for not lawfully blowing burglar's head off

judie kotek rect.jpg
The knife-wielding Kotek (left) is lucky to be alive after getting busted burglarizing by a shotgun-toting homeowner.
When Gerald and Sarah Hinna arrived home around 9:30 Saturday night, they sensed something was amiss. Their dogs were barking, and upon entering their house, Gerald noticed their barks seemed particularly focused on an upstairs door that was partially closed.

SEE ALSO: Footprints in snow guide Faribault police from burglary scene right to suspects

Gerald tried to push the door open, but his efforts were blocked by a human body on the other side. His wife handed him his shotgun just as the person behind the door pulled it open. The intruder had a knife in one hand.

But Gerald didn't shoot. Instead, as the would-be burglar tried to run out of his house (Gerald says he wasn't sure whether the intruder was a man or woman at the time, though she was later identified as 42-year-old Judie Kotek), he nailed her in the head and stomach with the shotgun butt. Kotek kept running, but the Hinnas yelled to their off-duty cop neighbor, and he chased her down and detained her until police arrived.

In the wake of two teenage burglars in Little Falls getting brutally shot to death on Thanksgiving and a Rochester grandfather mistaking his granddaughter for a burglar and shooting her on Monday night, Gerald Hinna's decision not to fire his shotgun is being praised by the Waseca police.

From the Mankato Free Press:
"He exercised tremendous restraint," Waseca Police Capt. Kris Markeson said of Gerald Hinna's decision to refrain from using what would appear to be legal, deadly force against the knife-wielding female intruder.

"I'm glad he didn't," said Hinna's wife, Sarah. "Nobody got hurt, except for her, and that doesn't bother me a bit."
Sarah told the Free Press she and Kotek were coworkers at a Birdseye Foods in Waseca, but they didn't know each other well, and Kotek was recently fired. It's unclear why she tried to burglarize the Hinna's home, which she entered by prying open a window.

Kotek had jewelry and antique coins on her when she was arrested. She's been charged with five felonies, but at least her life will go on.

-- Correction -- An earlier version of this story incorrectly said Sarah Hinna and Judie Kotek worked together at a grocery story. A reader points out that Birdseye Foods is actually a frozen vegetable plant.


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39 comments
Kyle J. Holman
Kyle J. Holman

Most people don't have what it takes to shoot someone, for better or worse. That's just how it is.

Sallyjos
Sallyjos

Whole new meaning to "butthurt."

NewsDog
NewsDog

I'll bet it wasn't that he had such great restraint, he probably forgot to take the safety off in the rush of events. That's why he had to use the but of the gun to hit her.

And would it have been so wrong to shoot a knife wielding stranger that broke into your home?

Jared VanderHook
Jared VanderHook

I could be mistaken, Nolan. I just don't think there are many things that would make me too eager to blow someone's brains out, especially in my own house. I feel pretty confident that MOST people that are mentally stable would not want to kill someone and would try to avoid it at most costs.

Nolan Murphy
Nolan Murphy

Yeah, I was more questioning the restraint part. He had a shotgun and someone was armed with a knife in what sounds to be very tight quarters. I am not saying people want too, but the smart thing would be to shoot.

swmnguy
swmnguy topcommenter

Good for the Hinnas.  That's what you call responsible use of deadly force.  He had deadly force on his side; don't lose sight of that fact.  And he probably had every right to pull the trigger.  However, he used the right amount of force to deal with the situation.  Pulling the trigger, though legally justifiable and probably unassailable, would have been too much force.  Now if this Ms. Kotek had come at home with the knife, then pulling the trigger probably is the right amount of force.  Clearly she did not.  I'm glad the Hinnas didn't panic and over-react, or decide like the guy in Little Falls did that breaking and entering and burglary are now summary death-penalty offenses.

Lisa Andrews
Lisa Andrews

Actually, Jared is correct. I came home three years ago to find a burglar in my home. I did not shoot or try to injure him. Many in my situation would do same

Blaine Garrett
Blaine Garrett

Does it count as a "gun crime" if you bludgeon someone to death with the butt of a shot gun? This lady kept going too... I blame PCP.

Candi Olson
Candi Olson

after what happened with the grandpa and granddaughter i hope like hell people will take 1/2 second to deside before they shoot.

Pinko Thinker
Pinko Thinker

it's all the rage these days. consult your list of secret mortal enemies; invite them to an event scheduled in advance at your home; welcome them when they arrive; hang up their coat; shoot them in the face; gather around their grisly remains and enjoy the cake that you instructed them to bring.

Jared VanderHook
Jared VanderHook

Tremendous restraint to not kill someone? Burglar or not, I don't think most people want to kill someone.

mark.gisleson
mark.gisleson

@NewsDog Gerald Hinna sounds like a real man to me, and not one of those gun wussies who fantasizes about shooting other people "because they had it coming." You did note the part about him holding a shotgun, right? So he wouldn't have been shooting anyone, he would have been redistributing their internal organs all over his home.. 

Normal people aren't into blasting other people's entrails all over their home. You, I guess, think differently. Good luck selling your home once people find out you've executed people in it. Gerald Hinna's property values are still intact, and, more important, he has the respect of his neighbors.

CinBlueland
CinBlueland topcommenter

@Jared VanderHook Jared, not to be mean. Cute kid, she's behind you, this person is in front of you with a knife. 

keny1
keny1

@swmnguy You are correct.  If someone breaks into your house and they confront you with a weapon in their hand, you should always wait for them to attack first before you respond.  Because even though they broke into your house and have invaded your sense of safety and security, we should always take their rights into consideration first before we act.

CinBlueland
CinBlueland topcommenter

@Lisa Andrews Hi victim #2 and 3.  By all means call the police, you'll still be dead and raped before they arrive.

jinxmchue
jinxmchue

@mark.gisleson You know, Mark, there's an old, old adage: "Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt."  That works for online posts, too, as you have just proved.

CinBlueland
CinBlueland topcommenter

@mark.gisleson @NewsDog  Mark, you're on on one point. "Normal people aren't into blasting other people's entrails all over their home"

But Normal people are into defending those they love and their homes. I am truly happy things worked out the way they did, they could have gone much, much worse, she was that close and armed with a lethal weapon, both he and his wife could have been seriously injured or killed

keny1
keny1

@mark.gisleson And if Hinna was stabbed to death because he chose not to fire his gun, not only would he be a real man, he would be a real dead man.

swmnguy
swmnguy topcommenter

@keny1 No, silly; you misunderstand me.  If you can get an intruder out of your house without making an enormous mess that you will then have to clean up and deal with, so much the better.  Nobody cares about the "rights" of the burglar.  I didn't imply that in any way in my comment, silly-boots.  Not taking the bait tonight, Keny.  See you another time.

k2yeb
k2yeb topcommenter

Take their rights into consideration? Um...breaking into your house forgoes some rights, just like flying on an airplane.  I would love to see what you would do if someone broke into your house. Here, would you like a cup of tea...perhaps some crumpets.

CinBlueland
CinBlueland topcommenter

@k2yeb It's a media thing. They never report on how home invasions went up in the UK or AUS after all guns were outlawed. And OMG, never ever report when a firearm was used in the correct manner and an incident averted.  These can be found.. But not on "approved" sites like CP, Strib, HuffPo, DemUg,

k2yeb
k2yeb topcommenter

What I think is funny about the whole gun debate...is look at Chicago. Its illegal to possess, yet young girls get raped at gunpoint on the way to school, robberies everywhere etc. Rarely is it a responsible legal gun owner that carries out unlawful use of a weapon. Its generally some punk ages 15-25 that bought it on the street. My gun is in a safe in my closet. It is NOT under a pillow my kid can get access to or on any table in my house.

I think many in this country have forgot what being American is about and what a constitution means. While I am on the subject, our govt should focus on freedom not regulation for everything including marriage, drugs, etc.

jinxmchue
jinxmchue

@mark.gisleson "This is a liberal publication"

Given the number of completely idiotic and clueless comments by people like you, that is painfully obvious.

CinBlueland
CinBlueland topcommenter

@MicheleBachmann  MB, I said tweek to be nice. In all honesty I troll you. Most of your posts are hate filled rants against whatever your hyper PC world. You claim to be a business owner.. I'd hate to be an employee where every casual joke would be a trip to HR. 

As for racist.. whatever, you and fellow libs have burned that bridge. Disagreement is not racism. "like"ing keny's posts for the most point only pisses you off - See troll comment. I've actually disagreed with him on some issues and called him on it. Not that it matters in your hate filled world.

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@CinBlueland  Fuck you dickhead.  You don't tweek me because its cute.  You started fighting with me because I was calling out you and keny for racial slurs and bigotry on other stories.  You've never once addressed your racist posts so fuck off.   You can pretend you are some giggling little pixie tweaking me but the fact is you are a lying little racist who became obsessed with me because I called you out on your racist bull shit.  

keny1
keny1

@CinBlueland Wikipedia is incorrect.  Here is the new and improved definition of American Liberalism:

Liberalism (noun)

a. The horrid realization that people can think, do, and act on their own accord without assistance from Government

b. The horrid realization that people can earn a livable wage by virtue of their skills, education, and/or experience without the assistance of a labor union or Government.

c. Intense hatred of the Principles in which the United States was founded upon: Entrepreneurship, The Right to Bear Arms, and the concept of a Limited Government.

d. A belief that those who are considered "wealthy" should be taxed at 100% of their income, while those who are not "wealthy" should pay no taxes.  (Commonly referred to as "Paying your Fair Share"; see also, Marxism)

e. A belief that the Separation of Church and State only applies to Christianity. All other religions are exempt.

f. A firm belief that anything a politician says or does is Gospel and the Absolute Truth, provided that they have a (D) at the end of their name.  If they have a (R) at the end of their name, they are automatically racist, homophobic, and/or [fill in the blank].

g. A belief that the rights of criminals are far more important than the rights of their victims (unless the victims are minorities, and the perpetrators are Caucasian, which basically never happens). But still.

And finally, 

h. A belief that being so open-minded that your brain falls out is considered a virtue.  

keny1
keny1

@MicheleBachmann And only big mouths with big gaping vaginas and no brains spews the same stupid juvenile non-comebacks such as yourself over and over again.

It must be great to be one-dimensional and have a low I.Q. to boot.

You are a true winner MB.  

CinBlueland
CinBlueland topcommenter

@MicheleBachmann @keny1 MB/Mark G. 

A. It's like rule One taught to any responsible gun owner. It's not blood lust or some other liberal fantasy. Too many things can and will go bad if you're not prepared to use the weapon you employ.

B. MB, little old for that now, but been there done that. TF Ripper, 1st CombatEng, "B" Co det. 1st Gulf War. 

C. Here's the kicker, I don't keep a firearm in the house. There is nothing in here I'm willing to kill anyone over.

D. I don't have a "hardon" for killing anyone. "Liberal" by definition means open flow of ideas read the first line http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberalism

I come here for more than political rants, found some awesome new places to eat, even a band or two. Added bonus I get to tweek MB who is one angry, bitter dude.

So maybe relax your preconceptions just a bit.

_Joe_
_Joe_

@mark.gisleson - I'm a liberal.  You and I are usually on the same page.  I almost never agree with Keny or Cin, but I'm pretty sure I'd have pulled that trigger.  Sure I'd have to deal with having wounded or killed someone, but my wife would still be around to help me through it after putting our kids to bed.  Sorry.  I'm just not going to risk that on the off chance that the crazy person with the knife in my home "might not want to stab me with it"

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@keny1  If you and Cin want to shoot someone so bad why are you big talking cowards in Minnesota right now?   Why don't you two cowards see how you like the Taliban to shoot at.  Only big mouths with tiny penises talk about how tough they are on the internet all the time.  keny you are such a stupid coward you'd accidentally shoot yourself trying to draw a gun.    I bet keny is some 5'4" doofus with a big mouth.   

mark.gisleson
mark.gisleson

@CinBlueland @k2yeb "you NEVER pull a firearm unless you intend to use it." I forget, which of the 10 Commandments is that one? Or are guns like samurai swords? Once unsheathed/unholstered they must draw blood?

This is a liberal publication and still the gun nuts flock here to assert their right to execute anyone who so much as thinks about breaking into their home. And, nine times out of ten, they shoot some local kids or their own granddaughter because once they pull that gun THEY HAVE TO USE IT BECAUSE THAT'S THE LAW OF THE GUN.

CinBlueland
CinBlueland topcommenter

@k2yeb 

"would have been too much force" - No, his lack of force put himself and his wife in mortal danger. He had zero idea of her mental state, and or chemicals in her system. 

You NEVER pull a firearm unless you intend to use it.

*Note, we're missing some details, is this guy a vet? What was the ht/wt disparity? When she fled was it away or toward?

I'm glad the woman didn't have to die, but Mr. Hinna screwed up.

CinBlueland
CinBlueland topcommenter

@k2yeb  See Sarcasm.  The shotgun (best choice for home defense) probably saved his life. 

If he'd had a holstered hand gun, a knife wielder inside of 10' can more than likely stab you before you can draw. 

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