It was around 2 a.m. Monday morning in a quiet Sisters neighborhood when a loud bang at the back door awoke Erik Pronold’s wife.
“Wasn’t sure what it was, we have a kid who sleep walks every now and then so she was like, ‘Oh one of our kids is probably up and moving around,'” Pronold said. “Then she heard a bigger boom and woke me up. And then he got through the door jam and it hit the safety chain that we have at the top of our doors and I knew right away that someone was trying to enter our home.”
A Marine veteran, Pronold sprung into action.
“I grabbed, actually the nearest weapon was a hunting rifle because we just got back from deer hunting with my son and I grabbed that and I came out of that door into the hallway. In the loudest voice I could find just gave orders of “Get out of my house, you have five seconds, I am armed and I will kill you at this point!” And as soon as I said it I started to count down, I gave him the “5…4…!” and he ran from the back door to the front door. he was at the front door at that point and I was at “3” counting down still, “2” and I heard him say something like, “I’m trying to get out, I’m trying to get out, I can’t get out, I can’t get out!” And somehow he miraculously got the safety chain out and out the door at that time,” he said.
After leaving Pronold’s home, Huber headed to the house next door where the homeowners also called 911 and told him to leave.
Huber then returned to Pronold’s home.
“I pulled down on him and said, “Get down, get down, get down,'” he said. “And I let him walk up on his knees to a chair by my front of my house where the lights were on and I just set him down there and I held him there at gunpoint until the sheriff’s arrived.”
But, Pronold says, there is more to the story than just an interrupted home invasion.
It turned out that the burglar was actually 43-year-old Ryan Paul Huber, the son of one of Pronold’s neighbors.
Huber told Pronold and sheriff’s deputies that he believed his family was in danger and was being held hostage when he ran through Pronold’s home.
When deputies arrived at Huber’s home, they found his family safe and sleeping.
Despite the scary situation, Pronold says he feels sympathy, not anger, toward Huber and is grateful the situation had a non-violent end.
“From what I understand he’s been in and out of rehab and had some mental issues that are associated one way or another with it, but trying to do his best from what I understand he’s supposedly been cleared and clean for the last three years which is great. I think that it’s really just the grace of God that allowed him to enter my house where I had control of the situation, knew how to handle the situation,” he said. “I can’t speak to how sane he was, if this was something he had actually thought about, but speaking to him afterwards he thought that someone was harming his family. Who knows why he entered, I mean we all have our demons and we all go through things in life that we can’t overcome sometimes and you know we just do our best with what we have and hopefully we get support from those around us.”
Pronold says that in the future he hopes Huber gets the help he needs, and the incident will open up conversations about the affects of mental health and substance abuse in the future.
“His parents said that he had been in the hopspital at 10:30 the night before so roughly 4 hours before he broke into my house with mental and drug issues of some sort and he was cleared to actually leave because he wasn’t considered a threat to himself or others,” Pronold said. “I just wish that whatever protocol we have when releasing patients like that were just a little bit more robust. It’s just a sad situation that even when someone’s getting help from a parent or family members that you know there still aren’t systems in place that will relaly bring them all the way through. I’m really thankful that whatever situation he’s in now hopefully the system works for him this time, and that he can get rehabilitated.”