Victim uses battle axe to fend off home invader

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OSHTEMO TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A man is alive and well after he used an axe to fend off a convicted criminal who broke into his Oshtemo Township apartment late Wednesday night. 

Ben Ball, 36, used a replica battle axe to keep the intruder at bay.

The 33-year-old suspect, Alex Lavell Rawls, is now in jail facing a charge of first-degree home invasion, which could put him in prison for a maximum of 20 years. 

Ball says that the suspect dated his former roommate who left to getaway. The suspect showed up at the apartment around 11:30 p.m., thinking she was there. 

The suspect knocked on the door repeatedly, then kicked it in, while Ball was in his apartment playing video games and watching Rick and Morty.

Ball said he had reason to believe the suspect had a firearm. 

“(The) door opened, (I) grabbed the axe, (then) step, step, hit.”

The axe hit the intruder at least once in the torso and then the two started grappling in the apartment destroying the place.

“There was a bloody mess everywhere,” Ball said. 

Finally, the suspect gave up and made a run for it. 

A neighbor called 911 and police showed up. Police K-9s followed the trail of blood to apprehend the suspect. 

Kalamazoo County officials say the suspect spent the night in the hospital with substantial wounds before being transferred to the jail. 

Whatever his reason was for kicking in the door, he probably was not expecting to run into a guy who spends his weekend battling other people with swords and axes. 

Ball owns a lot of weaponry that he keeps around his apartment, like the kind Vikings and Barbarian warriors used.

When he’s not working at Applebees, he participates in events where people compete in ritualized combat.

“I’ve got a double-headed carbon steel battle axe that was homemade by a gentleman who has since passed. That’s what I call my baby,” Ball said. 

Court records show the was discharged from the Michigan Department of Corrections in July. His criminal record includes assaulting and disarming a police officer and flee and eluding police. 

Rawls is being held in the Kalamazoo County Jail as of Thursday. 

Kalamazoo County Undersheriff Jim VanDyken said avoiding confrontation with a robber is usually the best course, but he says people have a right to defend themselves, especially in their own home. 

Ball says he is glad he spent a lot of time practicing with that axe.

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