My Gun Story: The Victim

On September 16, 2012, local jeweler Gary Thrapp was shot during a home invasion. Here, he recounts the scariest seven minutes of his life.

It was one of those wonderful mid-September nights, so we decided to sleep with the bedroom’s sliding glass door open. About an hour after we went to bed, I awoke to a rustling. I looked out the door, and there they were—two men wearing masks and gloves. The shorter of the two said, “You know why we’re here.” The larger of the two kicked in the screen door. He grabbed my wife, zip-tied her hands behind her back, and took her to another room. He had a gun to her head, and I heard him shouting, “Jewels!” Meanwhile, I had grabbed the other guy and wrestled him to the floor. That’s when I saw his revolver. He shot me once across the top of the leg and once in my abdomen.

Obviously, that was the end of the fight. It’s not like the movies, where you get shot and then pop up. It was a large-caliber gun (a .44), and one of the bullets lodged in my hip bone. Initially, it felt like someone had stabbed me with a hot fireplace poker. I don’t know at what point I went into shock, but it happened quickly. Your mind and your body say, “This is too much pain. We’re shutting this down.”

The shorter guy got up and stayed by the door as the larger guy gathered up some of my wife’s jewelry. I don’t usually keep a lot of big pieces at home, but there was a sizable diamond ring and a tennis bracelet. I said to the shorter one, “You got what you came for, now get the fuck out.” A few seconds later, the larger guy came back into the room and they both disappeared. They hadn’t done a good job of zip-tying my wife’s hands, so she was able to get loose and call 911. The intruders had brought a bag of zip ties. They didn’t do that intending to be out of there in six or seven minutes. Me getting shot hastened their retreat.

It’s a crazy world, and you have to be more vigilant than you think. Although I owned a rifle, I didn’t have a gun in the room then. I do now. I don’t really espouse guns, but having had this experience, I wouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger and shoot an intruder. Not only would I shoot him, but I’d probably make sure he was dead.


0215_COVER-cropIndianapolis is coming off one of its deadliest years ever. Under the Gun, from our February 2015 issue, offers a grim look at the violence killing our city.