FONTANA, Calif. (KCAL/KCBS) - When a 67-year-old California woman was confronted by an intruder, she protected not only herself but her neighbors at her senior apartment complex.
Lorenza Marrujo may be 67 years old and less than five feet tall, but she’s also tough. She’s had 26 years of martial arts training, so when she told a man who broke into her Fontana, California, apartment to back off, he listened.
“As he was coming towards me, I said back off – right away,” Marrujo said.
Unfortunately, the suspect then made his way to the apartment of Marrujo’s friend and neighbor, 81-year-old Elizabeth McCray.
“He grabbed me and shake me, and I went down on the floor,” McCray said.
Marrujo heard her screams and went to help.
“I squeezed myself between her and him. I put Mama on the side, and I jumped on him. I was punching him and everything, and I had the cane against his throat,” Marrujo said.
She says she didn’t want to kill the man, so she switched positions to hold him down with her hands.
“He lifted up and tried to twist my hand. At the same time, I twisted his and turned it around real fast. He was saying, ‘You’re hurting me.’ And I said, ‘I don’t care. I don’t care what happens to you. You had no right to hurt an elderly person,’” Marrujo said.
Police arrived on scene and took the intruder into custody. McCray was taken to the hospital for treatment and released the next day.
“I didn’t expect that little lady would be that brave. I was trembling. I grabbed her by the leg. I said, ‘Be careful. You’re gonna kill us.’ She said, ‘Not tonight,’” McCray said.
Police say they don’t recommend that people jump into situations like this but instead call 911.
“We recommend that you dial 911 for emergency assistance, which, in this case, she did that and also jumped in,” said police spokesperson Jennie Venzor. “What she told me is that her training kicked in, and it was like a muscle memory. She knew she had to help her friend out.”