92-year-old WWII veteran beaten, robbed in his Fresno home

FRESNO, Calif.

Volunteers came to the man's house Friday to repair the damage done when the robbers broke in and ransacked the place.

The victim, who asked us to use only his first name, spoke to a reporter. She says Joseph is "holding strong."

"I kept a cool head and I didn't raise my hand," he said.

The 92-year-old has seen a lot of action in his lifetime.

"I graduated in 1941," Joseph said. "I graduated, I went into the service, I volunteered."

The Army veteran drove an armored tank in World War II and fought in four major battles overseas. But he says nothing could have prepared him for what happened inside his home early Wednesday morning.

"I was sound asleep at about one or two o'clock in the morning, all the lights were on, and a guy shook me with a gun in your face," Joseph said, noting that he asked what was going on when the man told him to "shut up" and then slapped him.

While the suspect held him at gunpoint, three others ransacked his house, taking about $200 in cash and jewelry, including his high school ring from Woodlake High in Tulare County.

"They were in there for almost a half hour," said Chris Curtice with the Fresno County Sheriff's Department. "So they had plenty of time to search the house, it was in the middle of the night."

At one point, Joseph says one of the suspects put a gun in his mouth and threatened to kill him. And while being ordered into the bedroom closet, he was hit in the head with a handgun, causing him to fall to the floor.

"I'm lucky it didn't lock," Joseph said. "And then I started crawling from over there to that door, I couldn't get up because it was cold and then finally I dialed the 911 in the kitchen."

The incident has left neighbors in the area scared.

"It's nerve wracking and it seems to be getting worse," neighbor Melvada said. "When I moved in here it was a very lovely neighborhood, never heard of anything bad, and now it's changed quite a bit."

And this World War II veteran is hoping the suspects are caught before they can strike again.

"They got that 200 dollars," he said. "God Bless them. I hope they buy something worth that 200 dollars."

Another home in the area was hit. Authorities are trying to determine whether the two incidents are related.

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