A retired cop tried to shoot a naked intruder early Monday, but he’d forgotten to load his gun.

Around 5:35 a.m., a woman called 911 to say her husband was holding a home invader at gunpoint downstairs in their NW Nordic Avenue home.

Police arrived to find Jerry Poole, 79, standing over a blood-covered man and training his Smith & Wesson .38 revolver at the man’s chest.

But it turns out, as Poole told The Bulletin, that gun was empty, and for several tense minutes, he was bluffing.

“I got lucky,” Poole said. “What if he’d had a gun?”

Poole and his wife told The Bulletin they were awoken Monday by pounding in their basement and the sound of breaking glass. They sat up in bed and listened.

Poole went to the nightstand, took his revolver from inside a white sock and walked downstairs.

Poole worked 30 years for California Highway Patrol, retiring as a lieutenant. But for the past 25 years, he’s been focused on RV-ing and fixing up classic cars. He and his wife, Susan, have lived at the end of a quiet street with no outlet in the Valhalla Heights subdivision for eight years without any trouble, they say.

But Monday, in his basement, Jerry Poole found a naked man with short-cropped hair halfway through his window.

Using a profanity, he warned the man to get out or get shot. That didn’t slow him down, Poole said. So he squeezed the trigger.

Nothing happened.

Then a second time. Then a third.

He’d forgotten to load it.

“I thought, ‘Uh oh,’” Poole said.

The man fell inside the house behind a couch and, as he was standing, Poole brained him with the grip of his revolver.

It took three more strikes to subdue him, Poole said.

“He was high on something,” Susan Poole said. “He was definitely high.”

Bend Police arrived and arrested Shelton Brian White, 45, on suspicion of first-degree burglary, fourth-degree assault and second-degree criminal mischief. Paramedics treated some of his injuries at the scene and transported him St. Charles Bend for further care.

According to a Bend Police press release, White was taken into custody “without incident.”

Spokesman Clint Burleigh said homeowners like Poole are within their rights to defend their property.

“It’s not an easy decision to use a gun,” he said. “A firearm certainly does change a situation.”

There are no other suspects in the case, though the Pooles are certain there was another person with White. They both say they heard a woman’s voice as well as a man’s.

Shortly after the man was taken from her house, Susan Poole called a restoration business to come clean the broken glass, board the window and haul away her blood-covered rug and couch.

“There was a lot of blood,” she said.

Susan Poole says she’s proud of her husband.

“I guess his law enforcement training just kicked in,” she said.

For his part, Jerry Poole said he’s relieved he didn’t actually shoot the intruder, and he hopes he didn’t give him a concussion.

“I probably wouldn’t have been so brave had I known that gun was unloaded.”

— Reporter: 541-383-0325, gandrews@bendbulletin.com