TAMPA — Only new sixth- graders dare disrupt Juanita Enzor's intensive reading class at Memorial Middle School, the principal joked Friday.
The 36-year veteran of Hillsborough County schools is firm with students and her classes are tightly structured, said principal Art Akins, who has worked with her for three years.
"When a student is disruptive, she likes to deal with it in her classroom," he said. "She has an amazingly low referral rate."
Early Friday morning when a man broke into her home, she dealt with that on her own, in the same no-nonsense way, according to Hillsborough County sheriff's investigators.
At about 5 a.m., deputies said, 40-year-old Mark C. Johnson, who has no listed address, burst through the front door of 1010 Kirkland Drive, a peach, one-story house with bars on the windows just south of Palm River Road.
Enzor, 62, lives there alone.
When Johnson came into her bedroom, Enzor was waiting with a gun, and shot him in the upper torso, deputies said. Johnson attacked Enzor, but she got away after a brief struggle and called 911.
Arriving deputies found Johnson still inside the home, dead. Enzor had minor injuries and faces no charges.
Even after the incident, Akins said, she called the school to check on her classes.
"I talked to her on the phone this morning, and her first concern was that we take care of her class," he said.
Her students were scheduled for a trip to the media center as a part of the Reading Warriors program and she wanted to make sure the substitute knew that, Akins said.
"She was ready to come in today, and if she is emotionally and physically ready she could be back as early as Monday," he said.
According to records from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Johnson has been arrested at least 33 times since 1986, and charged with robbery, larceny or shoplifting at least 20 times. He also has several drug-related or battery charges on his record, in addition to dozens of violations of probation.
Gloria Smith, 53, who lives across the street from Enzor, said Enzor is a good neighbor. Smith said she didn't know Enzor owned a gun.
"Maybe I need to get one too, if this is going on," Smith said.
Kim Wilmath can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3386. Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report.