FONTANA, Calif. — A 67-year-old, self-professed “Lady Ninja” put decades of training to use Monday when she defended her neighbor from an attacker at their apartment complex for retirees in California.
Lorenza Marrujo studied jujitsu from 1981 to 2007, often with the Survivor song “Eye of the Tiger” providing the soundtrack, the San Bernardino Sun reported.
Marrujo, 67, still practices, but admittedly, after Monday’s encounter, her training is not as sharp as it once was.
“I’m getting rusty in places,” Marrujo told the Sun. “I would have done more damage to him.”
Marrujo was in her third-floor apartment around 8 p.m. Monday when a man police identified as Donald Robert Prestwood walked in asking for his girlfriend, the Sun reported. Prestwood, 59, also lives at the complex and does handyman repairs for neighbors. Marrujo said he appeared to be under the influence.
Prestwood tried lunging at Marrujo, who grabbed a neon yellow baseball bat in response. She told him to “back off” and he left. He then went to the first-floor apartment where Elizabeth McCray, his girlfriend’s mother, lives. Moments later, Marrujo heard screaming and entered the dark apartment.
Marrujo called 911 then opened the flashlight app on her cellphone. When she turned on the light, she saw the 180-pound Prestwood standing over McCray.
The diminutive Marrujo swept Prestwood’s leg then used some other tactics to gain control of her much larger opponent.
“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 the Sun.
Marrujo, who is 4-foot-11 and 100 pounds, held him down by placing a knee on his chest and another on his neck until police arrived.
“I squeezed myself between her and him,” Marrujo told KCAL. “I put mama on the side, and I jumped on him and I was punching him and everything, and I had the cane against his throat."
McCray, who is recovering from her injuries, is thankful her friend was there.
“I said, ‘Could you be careful, he’s going to kill us,’” McCray told KCAL. “She said, 'Not tonight,’”
Prestwood was arrested and charged with two counts of elder abuse, according to arrest records. He was in jail on $150,000 bail.
“We recommend that you dial 911 for emergency assistance, which, in this case, she did that, and she also jumped in,” Jennie Venzor, Fontana police spokesperson, told KCAL. “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.”
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