93-year-old shoots attempted burglar after multiple break-ins, says police were taking too long to help

(Video Credit: KABC)

Attempted robbers in southern California were no match for a 93-year-old retired plumber who took matters into his own hands, whipped out his shotgun and found justice with a “bang,” critically injuring one suspected burglar, reports indicate.

“I approached them to put them under citizen’s arrest,” Joe Howard Teague told reporters on Thursday according to ABC News.

The gang of suspects reportedly ignored his requests after kicking the elderly man’s door open and throwing things at him during the Wednesday incident.

“One of them came at me with a fishing pole,” he recalled. “I kept telling them, I have a shotgun with three shells in it, but I actually only had one. And they kept throwing stuff at me.”

“It was just like somebody comes to a gunfight with a pocketknife, you know.” the Moreno Valley man said.

The Riverside County Sherriff’s Department responded to a 911 call that Teague placed at around 12:30 a.m. where they found the wounded suspect.

According to authorities, 33-year-old Joseph A. Ortega, was transported to the hospital in critical condition.

A relative said Teague was tired of the repeated burglary attempts and he was tired of waiting around for law enforcement to assist him.

“He was tired because every time he calls the police, (they took) forever to come and assist him,” Oscar Malma told KABC. “He took the law into his own hands… He’s been working all his life and whatever little things he has, he’s (protecting).”

“It happened once on Friday. On that bright day, they went (broke) into the house. And now this happens in the middle of the night. They were looking for him. He’s an old, retired plumber. He has a lot of tools…he’s a musician as well, so he’s got a lot of musical instruments. Little by little, they’ve been ripping him off,” Malma explained.

Police did not confirm how many break-ins have been reported at Teague’s residence but did confirm there were multiple suspects in the latest attempt.

“Investigators have established that several individuals, including Ortega, were inside Teague’s property when a shooting occurred,” Police said.


Malma doesn’t believe there is any reason for Teague to be arrested for shooting at the intruders although he told reporters he had been taken in for questioning.

“He was defending his property. That happened inside his house. So I don’t think there’s any reason for him to be arrested.”

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