A California woman who studied jujitsu for nearly three decades stopped and fought a home intruder who attacked her 81-year-old neighbor this week, authorities said.
It’s been more than a decade since Lorenza Marrujo properly trained in martial arts, but on Monday the 67-year-old proved she’s still a force to be reckoned with.
Marrujo, who told San Bernardino Sun she preferred to be called ‘Lady Ninja’ and enjoyed training to ‘Eye of the Tiger,’ claimed she would have subdued the suspect sooner had she been prepared.
‘I’m getting rusty in places,’ Marrujo, a black belt, said. ‘I would have done more damage to him.’
Lorenza Murrajo (pictured) said she used a neon-yellow baseball bat when Donald Robert Prestwood reportedly broke into her apartment on Monday
Marrujo (pictured), 67, trained in jujitsu for 26 years and enjoyed working out to ‘Eye of the Tiger’ from the Rocky franchise
Authorities said that Marrujo initialy encountered the suspect, Donald Robert Prestwood, 59, when he broke into her third-floor apartment at a complex for seniors in Fontana.
Marrujo told San Bernardino Sun that she grabbed a neon-yellow baseball bat and corraled the man out of her home.
‘I said, “Back off or I will have to hurt you,”‘ said Marrujo.
After Prestwood was scared away, Marrujo said he went downstairs to the first floor where her good friend and neighrbor, Elizabeth ‘Mama Liz’ McCray, stayed.
Prestwood reportedly broke into McCray’s home and began attacking the elderly, wheelchair-bound woman who let loose terrified screams.
‘He grabbed me and he shaked me,’ McCray told KCAL-TV and KCBS-TV in a joint interview.
Elizabeth McCray (pictured) said Prestwood ‘grabbed’ and ‘shaked’ her when he allegedly broke into her apartment on Monday
Marrujo rushed downstairs into McCray’s dark apartment and, after turning on the flashlight on her phone, saw Prestwood standing over her.
Marrujo, who stands at four-foot-eleven and weighs 100lbs, said she sent Prestwood, a whopping five-foot-ten and 150lbs, toppling over with a leg sweep.
A struggled ensued that resulted in Prestwood and McCray on the ground, while Marrujo unleashed her skills on him.
‘I had to bend his fingers back … to get him off her. 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 told San Bernardino Sun.
She added to KCAL-TV: ‘I squeezed myself between her and him. I put [Mama Liz] on the side, and I jumped on him and I was punching him and everything, and I had the cane against his throat.
Marrujo told the publication she did not want to kill Prestwood, she she switched positions and held him down.
Marrujo (left), pictured with McCray (right): ‘I squeezed myself between her and him. I put [Mama Liz] on the side, and I jumped on him and I was punching him and everything, and I had the cane against his throat’
Marrujo (pictured) said she bent back Prestwood’s fingers and delivered two strikes to his sternum while she subdued him on Monday in Fontana, California
‘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,”‘ she 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.”‘
Authorities eventually arrived to the senior living complex and arrested Prestwood, who lives in the complex and sometimes does handywork for other residents.
Prestwood was arrested on suspicion of elder abuse and held at the West Valley Detention Center.
McCray was treated for injuries but is expected to make a recovery.
‘I didn’t expect that little lady would be that brave,’ she told KCAL-TV. ‘I said, “Could you be careful, he’s gonna kill us.” She said, ‘Not tonight.’
McCray: ‘I didn’t expect that little lady would be that brave. I said, “Could you be careful, he’s gonna kill us.” She said, ‘Not tonight’
Marrujo said that Prestwood lived in the senior living complex (pictured) and that he somtimes assisted others with handywork
Marrujo, who was born in San Bernardino, studied jujitsu from 1981 to 2007 and attended Chaffey College to become either a crime scene investigator or a lawyer.
But she was homeless for about 30 years, and she told San Bernardino Sun that her martial arts training helped her ‘plenty of times’ to protect herself from people who wanted to harm her
Although authorities are impressed by Marrujo’s quick thinking and martial arts skills, they reccommended that residents call 911 when emergency situations occur.
‘We recommend that you dial 911 for emergency assistance, which, in this case, she did that, and she also jumped in, Jennie Venzor, a spokesperson for the Fontana Police Department, told KCAL-TV.
‘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.’