Jackson, SC (WJBF)- A suspect is dead after authorities say he broke into a home in Aiken County.

Around noon on Monday, 61 year-old Harold L. Runnels Junior, forced his way into an elderly couple’s home in Jackson.

They were able to fight him off and he was taken to the hospital where he later died from his injuries.

“This street is normally not that crazy or anything and we all know each other and everything. I never would have expected it to happen here. And so I kinda feel like it puts a stain on this neighborhood in a way,” said Jessica Clark, a neighbor.

Neighbors said they weren’t familiar with the suspect, and are shocked the attempted home invasion. Jessica Clark said she was relieved to hear the victims were ok. She told us the husband is a decorated vet who fought in Vietnam.

“But when I heard they were able to fend off the suspect, I was so proud of them and I was like, ok, so that guy picked the wrong house,” she said.

A motive is unclear at this time. Runnels, who lived in a nearby mobile home Community, allegedly knocked on the victims’ back door.

When they opened it, police say he forced his way in armed with a large knife attacking them, using the handle of the knife to hit them repeatedly. He knocked the wife, age 79, down injuring her and cutting her forehead with the knife. That’s when the husband, 82 years old, began hitting Runnels with the butt of his firearm until he was on the ground and unresponsive.

Captain Eric Abdullah of the Aiken County Sherriff’s Office said people should be careful when opening their doors to strangers.

He said in a statement “We would encourage anyone who encounters suspects that are attempting to unlawfully enter their home, call for immediate help. It is best to get help on the way and give as many details as possible on the suspect(s) as well as reporting the actions of the suspect.”

Clark said that while she used to feel comfortable leaving the doors to her home open, now she’ll be locking up.

“You know, it does give us a little bit of paranoia and stuff. I was actually with my sister, helping her that day when it happened. And so, I was like, man, what if they would have picked my place? and so that was a little scary for me.”

Runnels’ body will be sent to Newberry for autopsy and a toxicology report.
The Aiken County Sheriff’s Office said there will be no charges filed against the victims.