Real estate agent Dawna Hetzler was setting up for an open house when a man arrived at the property. Initially, Hetzler didn’t think much of it, as he seemed like a potential buyer, asking the “right questions” and talking about loans. The man then asked to see the upstairs, and that’s when things took a turn.
The incident took place in Commerce City, Colorado, on August 4. According to a report by 9 News, the man – later identified by authorities as 43-year-old Ernest Robert Chrisman – arrived at the open house at about 11:30 am.
“He asked the right questions,” said Hetzler. “We talked about loans, what he had to qualify for.”
After picking up a brochure, Chrisman asked to see the upstairs. Once he and Hetzler reached the master bedroom, Hetzler said Chrisman took out a knife and a piece of rope that had bear spray dangling from it.
“He said, ‘This is a knife, this is bear spray.’ After he said, ‘This is bear spray,’ he asked me to take off my ring and get into the closet,” said Hetzler.
At this point, Hetzler began to fear for her life.
Hetzler has a concealed carry permit and had her gun with her at the open house. She drew her firearm, preparing to defend herself.
Chrisman responded to her actions by soaking her with bear spray.
“I couldn’t see,” said Hetzler. “My skin was burning, my eyes were on fire, I couldn’t see, so I fired.”
She fired in his direction. Chrisman quickly fled from the home.
Hetzler went downstairs looking for her phone, her eyes still stinging. Once she found it, she called 911.
“Our men and women in blue helped me tremendously that day, and I am so grateful for their service,” said Hetzler, who was taken to the hospital for treatment.
“My life was in danger, and if I did not have my firearm, I would not be here to talk to you,” said Hetzler.
“It’s still very surreal,” she added. “You train for something like that but you pray you never have to do it.”
Chrisman was arrested on charges of first-degree burglary, aggravated robbery, and second-degree assault.