After her son was killed in 2008, Sherderian Sutton got a Philadelphia license to carry a concealed weapon and a small Ruger pistol to protect herself and her surviving children.

On Monday, when police knocked on her door, Sutton hoped that they were bringing the news she’s waited two years to hear.

“I thought they were coming to my door to tell me they had my son’s murderer,” she said. “But they were coming to take me and my gun, and now I’m defenseless.”

Sutton, 38, of North Philadelphia, said that her troubles began last week, when workers from Wilco Cable came to her back door to ask for permission to work in her yard.

She’s never had cable, but told them that they could work through her back yard to connect her neighbors’ cable. Sutton said that she also asked the workers to never use the back door again.

On Monday, Sutton said, she was awakened by incessant pounding on her back door about 8 a.m. She looked out of the window and saw two men and a woman at her back door, peering in her window.

Scared, Sutton said she grabbed her gun and held it at her side as she answered the door.

She said that she never left her house and never raised the gun. Although they had no identification tags, Sutton said that the three identified themselves as Wilco workers and again asked permission to work on her property. She granted it, but asked why they continued to knock on her back door, despite her previous requests to use the front door.

Sutton said that the workers went about their business but three hours later, about 11:25 a.m., police came to her door. She said she let them in and they went through her house – with guns drawn – even pointing them at her 14- and 16-year-old children.

She said that she was taken into custody, held for 12 hours – from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. – and that her gun and her license to carry it were taken away from her.

According to court records, Sutton, who has no record, was charged with simple assault and possessing instruments of a crime, both misdemeanors.

Lt. Frank Vanore, police spokesman, said that according to the police report, the cable workers alleged that Sutton was pointing a gun at them when she opened the back door.

What neither side seems to dispute is that Sutton never left her house. Even though a citizen is not required to have a license to carry a firearm in his or her own house, Sutton did, and had both the license and her gun taken away as a result of the incident.

Vanore said that no matter if Sutton was in her home or not, pointing a gun at somebody “unless you are protecting yourself” is considered simple assault.

Sutton insists she never pointed the gun and wonders why, if the workers were scared, they continued to work on her property after she answered the door. Wilco representatives did not return a request for comment.

Source: Stephanie Farr for

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