Older Couple Shoots Younger Attacker in Their California Home
Don’t believe what you might see in the news reports. There are gun owners in California. In fact, there are more gun owners in California than in any other state. That matters even though this retired couple had every reason to expect to be safe. We’re supposed to be safer in our homes at night. Living in smaller towns rather than big cities, we’re supposed to be safe. Hemet, California has a population of 90 thousand, which is about 4 percent of the population in Riverside County, where you’d find Hemet. Yes, this couple should have been safe. Still, this couple in their 70s each had a gun nearby as they slept in their bed late at night. Thank goodness they did because they faced a violent and much younger attacker in their home. If you have to fight, then the best trick to beat a younger and stronger attacker is to be armed and have an armed partner.
The story unfolds on a weekday night around midnight. The couple was at home when they heard someone smash through their back door. The male homeowner went to see what happened and he heard an intruder in his bathroom. Fortunately, the male homeowner was armed before he left their bedroom. The male homeowner opened the bathroom door and was immediately attacked by the intruder. His wife describes them hitting each other as they slammed from wall to wall inside their bathroom. The male homeowner was able to raise his .22 caliber handgun and shoot his 27-year-old attacker three or four times in the chest. The intruder decided he didn’t want to get shot any more so he ran out of the bathroom. He ran right into the female homeowner and punched her in the face.
Fortunately, the female homeowner had grabbed her firearm from the living room as the two men were fighting in the bathroom. She shot the attacker in the shoulder with her .357 handgun. Again, the attacker decided that getting shot hurt, and he didn’t want to get shot anymore. The intruder turned and ran out the back door the way he entered.
The couple collected themselves and then called 911 for help. They received treatment for their injuries. One report indicated that the male homeowner went to the hospital to be examined. The next day he had bruises all over his body. The female homeowner had a bruise and swelling on her face.
About an hour-and-a-half after the homeowners called the police, a young man walked into a hospital in his hometown nearby. He was suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. The wounds and the description of the suspect matched the description of the couple’s attacker. He was treated and then booked into the Riverside County jail. He is charged with home invasion, robbery, burglary, elder abuse, and assault. He has a long history of criminal arrests and convictions but was out on parole after a recent burglary conviction.
The male homeowner spoke with news reporters, “The only message I want to get out is to see everyone arm up man, I really would. We would not be here speaking to you now if we had not had the protection.”
That is a good message, but there is more we can learn from their experience. We win every fight we avoid and I’m glad the older couple were not hospitalized. Depending on luck is a bad plan. Best practice would be to keep your firearms secured near your bed at night.
We know that a .22 caliber firearm can be used for defense but shot placement is critical. It is hard to aim during hand-to-hand combat.
The female homeowner was punched and knocked down before she pressed the trigger. Firearms are wonderful defensive tools because they work at a distance. Ideally, the defender can shoot the attacker but remain out of reach. That is hard to do at midnight. Please work on a defensive plan with your partner and practice it. Practice it enough times that your feet and hands know what to do while your brain is still fuzzy at midnight.
This story is one of many that go under-reported by the mainstream media because it shows a positive image of a law-abiding gun owner defending their life and their family. It is our responsibility at AmmoLand to report these stories to you. While we will continue to report these stories, groups like the Crime Prevention Research Center, led by Dr. John Lott, are fastidious in studying the use of firearms for self-defense. Stay up to date with all news on self-defense by following CPRC and Ammoland.
About Rob Morse
Rob Morse writes about gun rights at Ammoland, at Clash Daily, at Second Call Defense, and on his SlowFacts blog. He hosts the Self Defense Gun Stories Podcast and co-hosts the Polite Society Podcast. Rob was an NRA pistol instructor and combat handgun competitor.