Portsmouth couple victims of home invasion

By Frank Lewis - flewis@civitasmedia.com

A Portsmouth couple experienced a nightmare in the middle of the night, but it turns out that nightmare, a home invasion at gunpoint, was real.

Karen Kennard and John Hessinger of Valley Street in Portsmouth, said they were asleep in their home Wednesday night and heard someone kick open the back door of their residence. Kennard said she then saw two men standing in the doorway to her kitchen. She said one of the men pointed a handgun at her and demanded her money.

It was at that point that Hessinger came into the room and was struck over the head with a gun causing a large cut to his head. Both suspects then demanded that the couple give them their money. Police said Hessinger gave the suspects all the money he had and the suspects then fled the residence.

The men were both described as being tall and slender and both were wearing ski masks, sweat shirts, gloves and sweat pants. Kennard said that the eye holes in the ski masks were large enough that she could see that the men were black males.

Hessinger was transported by Portsmouth Ambulance to the emergency room at Southern Ohio Medical Center where his injuries were determined to be severe enough to send him to Grant Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio.

What should people to when confronted with a home invasion?

“It is hard to advise people on what is the right way to behave in a home invasion situation,” Portsmouth Police Department Operations Captain Lynn Brewer said. “In this instance the subjects were armed with handguns and quickly resorted to violence when they felt threatened or provoked. In this instance the residents were better off to just comply with the intruders demands and try to reduce the amount of injury they were going to sustain. In some instances you have the opportunity to take advantage of a mistake of an intruder and defend your home.”

Brewer said he could see a situation where a parent or child responded to defend a family member that was being assaulted by an armed individual and someone end up getting shot or killed in the incident.

“You just don’t know how to react unless you find yourself in that situation and have to make that decision,” Brewer said. “We all hope that we never end up in that predicament but it is always a good idea to think about it and have a plan of action should it happen to you.”

The investigation is continuing and the Portsmouth Police request anyone who may have information about the incident to call the Portsmouth Police Department at 740-353-4101 or the Detective Division at 740-354-1600.

A home invasion is an illegal and usually forceful entry to an occupied, private dwelling with intent to commit a violent crime against the occupants, such as robbery, assault, rape, murder, or kidnapping.


By Frank Lewis


Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.