84-year-old Richmond woman shoots intruder

March 4, 2011 6:56:33 PM PST
An intruder in Richmond got the surprise of his life when he broke into the home of a senior citizen. She pulled out a gun she had inherited and fired it for the very first time.

This is a rare story. It's unusual in that it is frightening of life in cities today, but it's also inspiring because in this case, the victim turned the tables really fast.

Almost every call is urgent in the in the Richmond Police Department's dispatch center, but few are as memorable as this one last Sunday night. The call came from the home of 84-year-old Gustava Harvey who lives alone. That intruder kicked down her door and made directly for her bedroom. But Harvey had a surprise for him -- a vintage .38 caliber Police Special.

"She fired one time and in the straight direction that he was standing. The bullet struck the wall at about chest level," said Richmond Police Capt. Mark Gagan. "So he was very lucky not to be injured or killed by that."

It took just that one shot for the intruder to leave, and in a hurry. Harvey and her son did not want to relive the experience Friday, but her friends are talking.

"She was scared that somebody would come in there, into a home," said neighbor Naomi Williams.

"As a homeowner and a citizen you're allowed to possess a weapon, you're allowed to defend yourself and your property," said Gagan. "These are all things that she was well in her right to do."

Police did not confiscate the weapon. The suspect remains at large.

The neighborhood is quite proud of the frightened 84-year-old woman who found the strength to not back down.

"She is probably not the only one that has something to protect their homes, and I am glad she did use it because otherwise, she would have been a victim," said neighbor Naomi Williams.

As it was late and dark, Harvey could not give a good description of her attacker. However, there is one telling detail in the police report. She told police that when the suspect left the scene, he had soiled pants.

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