A pint-sized California woman with a black belt in jujitsu sprang into action when an intruder busted into her apartment at a senior living complex — and then attacked her elderly neighbor, police said.
Lorenza Marrujo — a 67-year-old, 100-pound woman who said she prefers to be known as “Lady Ninja” — lived up to her moniker Monday when a 59-year-old man who appeared to be intoxicated entered her third-floor apartment in Fontana, the Press-Enterprise reported.
The unlucky suspect, Donald Robert Prestwood, also lives in the complex and does jobs as a handyman for some residents. He grabbed at Marrujo after barging into her unit, prompting her to grab a yellow baseball bat, she recalled.
“I said, ‘Back off or I will have to hurt you,’” Marrujo said.
Prestwood then ran off and went to the first-floor apartment of Marrujo’s close friend, where the 4-foot-11 woman said she found the man standing over 87-year-old Elizabeth McCray, who uses a wheelchair, the newspaper reported.
Marrujo said she tried to trip Prestwood but wound up on the floor as the man used his legs to hold her neighbor down.
“I had to bend his fingers back … to get him off her,” Marrujo said of Prestwood, who is listed in jail records as 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds.
“He was screaming because that’s one of my techniques — the bent fingers. Then I went ‘boom’ with my elbow twice in his sternum.”
Marrujo, who said she had 26 years of jujitsu training, then stayed atop Prestwood’s chest until cops arrived and arrested him, CBS Los Angeles reported.
“My knee was on his chest, my other knee was on his throat, I had his jaw, and I was aiming for his eye,” Marrujo recalled.
Moments earlier, McCray said Prestwood grabbed and shook her before she went onto the floor, with Marrujo coming to save her just in time after calling the police.
“Jesus was here and gave her power,” McCray told the Press-Enterprise. “I wouldn’t think a little lady would have the power to do this.”
At one point, Marrujo said Prestwood told her she was hurting him — but she showed him no mercy.
“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 told CBS Los Angeles. “And I said, ‘I don’t care. I don’t care what happens to you. You had no right to hurt an elderly person.”
McCray was treated for her injuries at a hospital, but was released the following day, the station reported. Prestwood was arrested on suspicion of elder abuse and was jailed Wednesday on $150,000 bail, the Press-Enterprise reported.
Police, meanwhile, praised Marrujo for being so courageous but warned others against confronting suspects who may be armed with weapons — adding that Prestwood could’ve assaulted her with her own bat.
“What she told me is that her training kicked in, and it was like a muscle memory,” Fontana police spokeswoman Jennie Venzor told CBS Los Angeles. “She knew she had to help her friend out.”