Shotgun toting former violent crimes detective protected his special needs children from home invaders targeting them.
Security video of a group of masked individuals causing a disturbance outside a home in Mesa, Arizona in early September has gone viral on TikTok and surpassed more than three million views.
John Duhigg, who retired from a long career in law enforcement, took proactive measures to safeguard his home after witnessing years of violent criminal behavior on the police force, by installing a network of nine cameras on his property.
“I get comments about it all the time, but I’m a retired violent crimes detective, and I’m not going to be a victim of anything,” he told KPHO-TV about the amount of cameras.
Duhigg, prioritizing the safety of his children, said that the additional security measures were especially important due to their specific needs.
His 18-year-old daughter copes with Cerebral Palsy and is nonverbal, while his son, diagnosed with High-Functioning Autism, also requires additional support.
“I need to make sure that they’re extra safe because they can’t really help themselves,” he said.
Case in point, the incident unfolded as a result of online bullying, when Duhigg’s son unknowingly fell victim to harassment from a group of individuals.
Despite his father’s warnings, the young man shared their home address, mistakenly believing that they were his friends.
The situation escalated when this group targeted him based on his Autism and threatened to visit the house.
Duhigg’s surveillance cameras captured three separate encounters with the group on the same morning.
The initial occurrence transpired shortly before 1 a.m., as the men arrived in a vehicle parked adjacent to Duhigg’s residence.
Four individuals exited the car, leaving the last person inside, and one of them tossed a shake at Duhigg’s truck.
Around two hours later, at 3:04 a.m., Duhigg’s Ring camera again alerted him to the motion outside, when one of them was caught trying to cover a camera.
After that they proceeded to bang on the garage and front doors, which are made of steel.
“I’m a retired violent crimes detective. That’s a textbook home invasion,” he noted. “They beat on the door, they get you to answer it, and they overpower you, then they’re in the house.”
That’s when Duhigg got fed up and walked outside with a shotgun, which sent them fleeing back to their car.
He’s not sure if it was the gun that scared them off, or his presence, but he’s positive that one of them had a firearm of their own, based on the noise he heard.
“There’s one point in the very video you can hear what sounds like a slide racking on a pistol. That’s a very distinct sound. There are not a lot of things that sound like that,” he said.
Duhigg contacted the police when he went back inside, but before they arrived, the group came back a third time and trashed the exterior of his home.
“Either they came to make us think they were going to come and kill us, or they were really going to do something,” he added.
The Mesa Police Department has initiated an investigation into the incident. Duhigg intends to press charges against the individuals and urged them to turn themselves in voluntarily.