When 19-year-old Deshawn Wright saw his mother threatened by two masked men, reports the Knoxville News Sentinel, he grabbed a small floor heater and hit one of the men in the head with it, fatally injuring him, authorities said.
Matthew W. Bennett, 42, died early Thursday, hours after the aborted home invasion, reported shortly before 11 p.m. Wednesday, according to Oak Ridge police.
The teen's actions may have saved his mother's life, officials said.
"She most definitely was being threatened and accosted," Deputy Police Chief Alan Massengill said.
"The probability is he did save her life," Capt. Rick Stone said.
Lynette Kelly was in the bedroom of her modest, two-story Wainright Road home when Bennett and an accomplice kicked open the front door, police said.
According to police, both wore gloves, and Bennett's face was covered by a bandana and his accomplice, disguised by a full-face ski mask, was armed with a handgun.
"It appears this home was targeted," Massengill said. "There's nothing to indicate this was random."
Police aren't discussing a possible motive, other than to describe it as a botched burglary.
Wright, downstairs at the time, rushed upstairs to find his mother in peril and reportedly picked up the first thing available - the floor heater.
After the teen hit Bennett, the other man fled, according to reports.