In more than 30 years as a schoolteacher, Juanita Enzor developed a reputation as someone who knew how to handle herself under pressure.
That fortitude sustained the 62-year-old Memorial Middle School teacher early today, when deputies say she fatally shot an intruder who broke into her single-family house at 1010 Kirkland Drive in Clair-Mel City.
She reluctantly took the day off from teaching sixth grade at 4702 N. Central Ave. afterward, fretting about her students, Principal Art Akins said. "If she had her druthers, she'd have been here this morning," he said.
Enzor might return to school on Monday, Akins said. Although appalled that someone would attack the "low-profile" educator, the principal said he was not stunned by her swift reaction.
"She's not a panicky type of person," he said. "She's a person who reacts well to surprises."
Sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter said the investigation into the shooting is not complete, but at this point no charges are pending against Enzor.
"It looks like she was defending herself," Carter said.
It was just before 5 a.m. when a noise awoke Enzor inside the house where records show she has lived since at least 1981. A man later identified as Mark C. Johnson, 40, had forced open the front door, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said.
Enzor armed herself with a firearm - investigators would not specify the type - and shot Johnson as he confronted her in her bedroom. "For fear of her life, she shot him one time," sheriff's Sgt. Mike Hurley said.
Wounded in the upper body, Johnson continued to attack Enzor, the sheriff's office said. Enzor fought him off and ran to next-door neighbor George Martin for help. Martin and his wife called authorities.
"She seemed to be OK," Martin recalled later. "She wasn't hysterical. ... She's a very strong lady."
Deputies arrived to find Johnson had died of his injuries.
Public records show Johnson, who had no known address, had been convicted in October 2007 of felony grand theft, felony cocaine possession and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. He was sentenced to a year in state prison and probation.
Enzor has taught in the Hillsborough County school system since 1972, according to personnel records. She has worked at Memorial Middle School since 2000.
Her house was quiet this afternoon, with gates on her chain-link fence secured by chains and padlocks. The sheriff's office said she left with a relative after being interviewed by detectives. Attempts to reach her were unsuccessful.
Martin said break-ins have been an issue in the neighborhood in the past. "Someone tried to come into my house a few months ago," he said. "I reinforced the front door."
He called Enzor "very brave."
"She did what she had to do," Martin said.