When Jan Cooper purchased her .357 Magnum Smith & Wesson revolver 20 years ago she never expected she’d be using it to defend her husband and her home. Cooper, a 72 year-old grandmother living in Anaheim heard the sounds of her Rottweiler barking outside around 12:30 AM on Sunday morning. Outside she saw the silhouette of a man walking towards her home. Cooper immediately called 911 and can be heard during the call pleading for dispatch to send officers.
Undeterred by the dog, the invader–later identified as 31 year-old Brandon Alexander Perez, came onto the Cooper’s back porch and attempted to enter through the sliding glass door. Cooper can be heard over dispatch yelling to the suspect “I’m firing!” She proceeded to curse at the suspect, ordering him to “Back up, you son of a b**ch! Get out of here! Get the hell out of here! Get your butt out now!”
But the intruder didn’t flee the scene, prompting Cooper to tell dispatchers, “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,” she said.
Perez apologized to Cooper after she fired, she recalled, telling her, “I’m sorry, ma’am. I’m leaving. Please don’t shoot.”
Perez was quickly arrested by responding officers who had heard the gunshot on their way to the scene. The intruder wasn’t hit by the gunshot and sustained no injuries during the arrest. Jim Amormino, a spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department told the AP that Perez has plead not guilty to a burglary charge and will appear in court later this month. Perez had been living in a halfway house near the Cooper residence and had obtained an extensive criminal record including burglary charges and narcotics possessions.
Cooper told reporters Tuesday’s she was surprised by the attention but doesn’t regret defending her husband, an 85 year-old World War II veteran who uses a wheelchair. She also wanted to make it clear that she doesn’t use profanity but got caught up in the dangerous situation.
“I am a Christian woman and I’m very proud of it and I don’t curse, but after I shot, rage took hold and I just blasted away,” she said. “And, in fact, afterwards my husband said, `I’ve never heard you talk like that!’”
Cooper had given some thought into how she would have reacted if she had hit or killed the man, but doesn’t have any regrets and would do whatever it takes to save her husband. Authorities told Cooper that based on the man’s height and the bullet hole, she shot she fired narrowly missed the suspect’s cheek.
“I don’t mean to shoot anybody,” said Cooper, a self-described tomboy that grew up using guns, bows, and throwing knives. “But whatever’s necessary to literally stop them – he was not going to come into my home.”
Authorities praised Cooper for her quick thinking and bravery during the home invasion, hinting that the incident could have ended much worse if Cooper hadn’t possessed a firearm. “Even though that dog was barking, he still was desperate to get in. So who knows what may have happened if she didn’t fire that round,” Amormino said.