FONTANA (CBSLA) — Lorenza Marrujo might be small — standing less than 5 feet tall — but on Monday night, the 67-year-old proved she can pack a punch.
According to police, Marrujo confronted an intruder after he broke into her Fontana apartment at a complex for seniors.
“As he was coming towards me, I said, ‘Back off’ right away,” Marrujo, who has had 26 years of martial arts training, said.
The man listened and left her apartment, but he was not done for the night, breaking into the apartment of 81-year-old Elizabeth McCray’s — Marrujo’s friend and neighbor.
“He grabbed me and he shake me,” McCray said. “And I went down on the floor.”
Marrujo heard McCray’s screams and immediately went to help.
“I squeezed myself between her and him,” Marrujo said. “I put mama on the side, and I jumped on him and I was punching him and everything, and I had the cane against his throat.”
Marrujo said she didn’t want to kill the intruder, so she switched positions to hold him down with her hands.
“He lifted up and tried to twist my hand, but at the same time, I twisted his and turned it around real fast and he was saying, ‘You’re hurting me, you’re hurting me,'” Marrujo said. “And I said, ‘I don’t care. I don’t care what happens to you. You had no right to hurt an elderly person.'”
“I didn’t expect that little lady would be that brave,” McCray said of her friend. “I said, ‘Could you be careful, he’s gonna kill us.’ She said, ‘Not tonight.'”
McCray was taken to the hospital for treatment and was released the next day. The suspect, who was not physically hurt, was taken into custody by police who do not recommend that people jump into situations like this.
“We recommend that you dial 911 for emergency assistance, which, in this case, she did that, and she also jumped in,” Jennie Venzor, spokesperson for the Fontana Police Department, said. “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.”