A 67-year-old martial arts expert fought off an intruder who entered her 82-year-old neighbor’s apartment Monday night in Fontana.
The man broke into the unit and then threw the victim, Elizabeth McCray, to the ground, she told KTLA on Wednesday. He then jumped on her and began beating her, she said.
McGray says she’s alive today thanks to her friend, a bat-wielding martial arts expert named Lorenza “Miss Kitty” Marruja.
The intruder apparently went to Marruja’s apartment first but took off running when she pulled out the bat.
“I was aiming at his head, and he backed off and said, ‘No Miss Kitty, no Miss Kitty, I’m not gonna hurt you,'” Marruja recalled. “And I said, ‘Get the F out of my apartment right now.”
Moments later, she heard McCray screaming for help. The intruder had turned out the lights in McCray’s home and knocked her in the neck, leaving her on the floor pleading for help, she said.
That’s when McCray says Miss Kitty came charging in. She forgot her bat, but was able to use her kung fu skills.
Marrujo — who stands only 4-foot-10 and weighs about 100 pounds — forgot her bat but didn’t hesitate to use her kung fu skills on the younger, 5-foot-9-inch, 170-pound assailant, who once lived in the building.
“I had him on the ground. First, I went down like to this to his chest,” Marruja said, demonstrating her actions. “And then this was on his throat, like that. I had my hand right here on his jaw and I was aiming toward his eyes. And he said, ‘No Miss Kitty, no Miss Kitty.’ And he got scared.”
She said he tried to get up but she held him down and told him he wasn’t getting up. Miss Kitty also said the man was lucky she forgot her bat.
“If I did have my bat I would’ve busted his knee caps,” she said.
Fontana police officer Jennie Venzor said that while police don’t recommend home invasion victims engage directly with attackers, they were impressed.
“When we are telling her, ‘OK, we got it. You can get off of him now…’ — it was very impressive,” Venzor said.
The suspect, Donald Robert Prestwood, 59, was in jail Wednesday for investigation of felony elder abuse, according to San Bernardino County jail records.
Fontana Police Department Officer Jennie Venzor said authorities are continuing to investigate, and it’s possible he could face additional charges.
Miss Kitty said she would be willing to risk her life if a similar situation happened again.
“Self-defense is not murder,” she said.