Elderly Woman Opens Fire on Would-Be Burglar

Elderly Woman Opens Fire on Would-Be Burglar

California hasn't been much a haven for shooters and outdoorsmen for quite some time now, but not every Golden State resident is buying into their lawmakers' anti-gun agenda — and in one case, it probably saved a life.

According to the KTLA-TV in Los Angeles, an Anaheim, Calif., resident in her 70s used a gun to fend off a would-be burglar in the early morning hours of June 9.

Check out the video from KTLA-TV.


Jan Cooper, 72, was at home with her husband — an 86-year-old, disabled, World War II veteran — when her rottweiler alerted them to someone outside at about 12:30 a.m.


Trying to get into the home was Brandon Alexander Perez, 31, who first attempted to enter through the front door. After finding it was locked, Perez went around to the side of the residence when Cooper warned him she was armed, keeping a Smith & Wesson .357 revolver trained on Perez while on the phone with 911.

"I'm firing," Cooper told the dispatcher doing just that. After a "bang" on the 911 call, Cooper told the dispatcher, "You'd better get the police here. I don't know whether I hit him or not. I'm not sure. He's standing at my door, my back door. He's in my yard."

Perez apparently didn't heed the warning and tried to open a sliding glass door. That's when the woman decided enough was enough and opened fire. Perez wasn't hit — Cooper joked with reporters, "I was off my mark" — but was certainly scared out of his wits, backed down and begged Cooper not to shoot him. Luckily for him, Orange County Sheriff's deputies were on the scene in no time. Perez was arrested and charged with suspicion of attempted burglary — which doesn't bode for him, considering he was already on parole for burglary.

Meanwhile, the Sheriff's Department applauded Cooper's actions, saying the revolver was properly registered and she was well within her rights to use it.


This a story that could have ended very badly, but Cooper's steadfast approach to a potentially harmful situation was enough to keep her husband and herself from being harmed. Our favorite part of this story is Cooper's defiant message to the recently re-incarcerated Perez: "Well Mr. Perez, you have no idea how lucky you were to be able to walk away from my house."

1. Lock all your doors and windows.

As a police officer and while researching crimes, it is amazing how many times the bad guys just walk through an unlocked door or window. There are criminals out there that do not case a house before attacking; they just go from door-to-door checking to see if they can get in. They may be the desperate type just looking for a quick buck, but it is probably the most common by statistic. If he is caught checking doors, the bad guy can just pretend he is trying to talk with someone on the inside. All kinds of excuses can be pre-planned. I don't know about you, but if I were to be a victim of this type of crime, I would hope that my home would have caused a little more difficulty than just simple checking the door.

3. Lights, lights and more lights.

A great saying goes something like this: 'Those that want their deeds hidden will flee from the light. ' When it is dark outside, we naturally look toward lighted areas. If your home is well lit on the outside, especially at the home's entrance points, the bad guys will want to spend the least amount of time there. They will definitely pick the dark house down the street to invade, as the chance that anyone will see them will be much less. You can get tricky with the motion-detector lights, since we are naturally going to look at light that was once darkness, and the bad guys know this. It also gives the impression that someone turned it on to see what is going on. Now, a smart criminal will case the house and know there are motion lights, so that may be lost, but he still will not want to be in the light. Look into some good floodlights.

4. Keep your windows and blinds closed.

The bad guys do not know what treasures you have in your castle if you keep the windows closed. The bad guys covet what you have. If they have no clue, they will probably go covet someone else. The closed windows also create a sense of the unknown when it comes to the layout of the house and whether there are people home or not. The bad guy has to think there is a possibility of running into a homeowner or a vicious animal on the inside if he is clueless as to what awaits him behind the curtain.

5. Get a guard dog.

Bad guys generally do not like our four-legged friends, especially the ones that may inflict some damage. The little ones can act as good mobile alarm systems, but the bigger ones tend to be a bigger deterrent. The bad guys do not want to be in a situation where this creature can be lying in wait ninja-style during shopping spree through your house. It doesn't have to be a professionally trained guard dog, just one that you think they would respect.

6. Get an alarm system.

If you cannot afford an alarm system, then pick up those fake door stickers and signs that make it seem like you have one. They are a very cheap way to add another psychological deterrent to the home invader. Alarms are good for providing a warning system, especially if you are asleep. Most emit a piercing sound that will definitely signal something is wrong. The bad guys know this and generally choose those homes that are easier prey. I have only seen one case where a 'smash and grabber ' kicked a door in and continued the crime despite the blasting alarm. In this case, the criminal stole the enormous change jar that was visible from the porch -- violating Rule No. 4. The alarm system has the added benefit of notifying the police to come and investigate the crime.

7. Note and report all suspicious activity.

Bad guys like to case a house prior to actually committing the crime. They will come by as salesmen, surveyors or maybe just look around. They are looking for a good reason to invade your home and that takes a little bit of reconnaissance. While gathering the information they need, they are vulnerable to detection. Awareness is the best prevention for almost all criminal activity. As far as reporting, a simple phone call to the non-emergency number of your local police department may lead to increase patrol in your area. If while casing a neighborhood the bad guys notice more police activity, they may think they are found out and move to another target. It should also be noted to challenge all those that approach your home uninvited. Bad guys pose as average people or even good guys to get you to let your guard down. Make sure you confirm their purpose before opening yourself or your home up.

8. Guard your information.

Bad guys can determine you are a ripe target by all means. Your trash, for example, can tell them every new purchase you have made. I am not necessarily talking about identity theft, but if you just bought a new television, XBox or Blu-Ray player. The boxes we leave at the road's edge shout to the world our new expensive toys. We also need to be careful when letting delivery guys into our homes, even if it is just right inside the doorway. There has been more than one occasion where a pizza delivery guy cased a home while on the job.

9. Be a good neighbor.

Neighborhood watch was a household term in the '80s. Now, I am not saying form citizen patrol groups -- they have worked for high crime areas -- but simply be a friend to your neighbors. If they care about you and your property, they can be a great asset in detecting bad guys coming. Volunteer to keep a look out of their property, and the law of reciprocity will push them to look out for yours. It is also a good idea to know your neighbors and who they are as people. Unfortunately, on more than one occasion, a person close to the victim ended up being their home invader.

10. Think like a home invader.

Be mindful of your vulnerabilities. If you can see weak spots, then a career bad guy definitely will. Ask yourself how you would invade the home and then take steps to fix the problem. If you are imaginative enough, you can prevent the most skilled of criminals from getting the job done. If you are having trouble thinking that way, solicit help from a friend or do a little research on home invasions. These are not all stupid people; to think so underestimates them and puts your family at risk. Remember, this rule is about preparation, not paranoia, so have fun with it.

These rules are not the be-all, end-all of prevention, but they will definitely go a long way toward stopping one of the most demeaning of crimes. If you take the time to put some or all of these steps in place, the criminal will be forced to choose someone who violates these rules. Stay safe!

2. Use strong doors, windows and locks.

Another common tale is the bad guy walking up to the door and being able to smash it in. Most bad guys want to get in and out. We had a term for this crime, the ole' 'smash and grab. ' The bad guy would kick in the door, go straight to the bedrooms, pull the drawers out and dump all the contents on the bed. They could get through a room in less than 30 seconds. They could hit the entire house in under five minutes. They want the entire process to be as short as possible, so spending an extended amount of time trying to pry, kick or smash a door in is not in their best interest. Not to mention too much banging, thrashing and smashing outside exposes them to detection. Talk with a good locksmith and they will gladly point you to the good dead bolt locks, door frames and strong doors.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Benelli Lupo ATR

Benelli Lupo ATR

Quality. Art. Design. History. Precision. Innovation. Family. Passion. Love. These words come to my mind when describing anything Italian, and the same is true for a product bearing the name “Benelli.”

Guns & Ammo TV: Irons vs. Optics

Guns & Ammo TV: Irons vs. Optics

How much of an edge do optics give shooters? In this segment of Pros vs. Joes, Guns & Ammo TV puts Coordinating Producer Jeff Murray against Professional Shooter Chris Cerino.

Pocket-Pistol Carry Tips and Tricks

Pocket-Pistol Carry Tips and Tricks

Pocket carry, as a method of concealed carry for a defensive firearm, can be a practical option when done right. This is especially true during the colder months when heavy outer garments can obstruct access to a traditional waistline holster. Former U.S. Navy SEAL Jeff Gonzales, president of Trident Concepts, joins G&A contributor Kimberly Heath-Chudwin to discuss guns, training and gear, including Blackhawk's TecGrip holster that can make pocket carry more successful.

Umarex Air Ruger 10/22 Rifle Review

Umarex Air Ruger 10/22 Rifle Review

In this segment of "Guns & Ammo TV," Gun Tech Editor Richard Nance and Pro-Shooter Jim Tarr head to the range to wring out the Umarex Air Ruger 10/22.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

The Swarovski Z5(i) P BT L 3.5-­18x44mm has a unique and versatile multiple-­zero system and an erector assembly unlike any other on the market. The Z5(i) is an excellent choice for an all-­around hunting scope. Optics

Swarovski Z5(i) P BT L 3.5-­18x44mm Scope Review

Tom Beckstrand - September 09, 2020

The Swarovski Z5(i) P BT L 3.5-­18x44mm has a unique and versatile multiple-­zero system and...

In this segment of Rifles

Air Gun Reviews: Ruger 10/22 Air Rifle

Guns & Ammo Staff - September 02, 2020

In this segment of "Guns & Ammo TV," Gun Tech Editor Richard Nance and Pro-Shooter Jim Tarr...

The one glaring weakness in the .30-­caliber magnum cartridge lineup is best highlighted by examining the requirement around which Hornady designed the .300 PRC; the requirement came from the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM). Rifle

.300 PRC Review

Tom Beckstrand - March 12, 2019

The one glaring weakness in the .30-­caliber magnum cartridge lineup is best highlighted by...

Small, lightweight and purpose-built for sub-compact carry guns, Surefire's XSC pistol light takes on EDC illumination segment. Tactical

Surefire XSC Micro-Compact Pistol Light: First Look

Jeremy Stafford - September 10, 2020

Small, lightweight and purpose-built for sub-compact carry guns, Surefire's XSC pistol light...

See More Trending Articles

More News

It's no secret that the demand for firearms and ammunition have reached record levels due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the civil unrest in cities around the United States, and the prospect of an anti-gun president on the horizon. As with previous surges in ammunition sales, primers are the current weak link in the supply chain. After interviewing several manufacturers, Guns & Ammo has learned that the lack of primer supply is a part of what's preventing ammunition makers from meeting this unprecedented demand. News

Great Primer Shortage of 2020

Guns & Ammo Staff - August 12, 2020

It's no secret that the demand for firearms and ammunition have reached record levels due to...

On Friday, August 14, 2020, the a three-judge panel from the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit released its opinion in Duncan vs. Becerra, a case that challenged the California ban on magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. 2nd Amendment

California Magazine Ban Update

Guns & Ammo Staff - August 18, 2020

On Friday, August 14, 2020, the a three-judge panel from the United States Court of Appeals...

9mm and .380 ACP ammo are hard to find, but .38 Special might be challenging them as the ultimate buy-it-when-you-see-it pandemic ammo purchase. It's worth considering a gun purchase to include .40 S&W police trade-ins or a pistol in .45 to better round out your options if you don't already own handguns in those calibers. News

Ammo Update: Panic Buying Continues

Brad Fitzpatrick - August 06, 2020

9mm and .380 ACP ammo are hard to find, but .38 Special might be challenging them as the...

The USA High School Clay Target League announced the clay target disciplines of ‘Sporting Clays' and ‘5-Stand' have been added to their high school clay target shooting programs, in which over 30,000 student athletes participate. Industry

USA High School Clay Target League Sporting Clays and 5-Stand Programs

Guns & Ammo Staff - August 01, 2020

The USA High School Clay Target League announced the clay target disciplines of ‘Sporting...

See More News

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Guns and Ammo subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now