WWII Vet Shoots Burglar

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Thursday, February 2, 2012 - 11:12am

Bedside pistol used during break-in hadn't been fired in 20 years.

"It's loaded but it won't do nuthin' cause it's got the safety on," Jack Goodwin said as he handled the 9mm handgun he says he hadn't fired in two decades.

"I take good care of it," he said, just to be ready for a situation like the one that came his way Tuesday night.

Goodwin said he was listening to the Lakers game on the radio, when he heard a loud noise from the back bedroom of his Los Angeles home.

"Boom, boom, boom, it was real loud, like a jackhammer," he said. "I usually keep my gun at night near the bed. I ran and ran to see what it was."

With bum knees, Goodwin cannot move quickly. He's lived the past 40 years in this home, where he finished raising three daughters with his beloved wife Ruby.

She passed away a few years ago.

His daughters want him to move out to Moreno Valley to be closer to them, but they also respect his independence and self-reliance.

"He's a true soldier," said Vernita Goodwin.

Goodwin doesn't want to reveal his age, but he offers this clue: He served in Okinawa during World War Two, and he still has the paperwork showing he was ranked as a marksman.

Goodwin told us his home had been burglarized before, when he was out of the house.

It was nothing like what happened Tuesday night.

He described seeing shadowy figures at the window.

"I fired when I saw them breaking the glass out," he said.

Goodwin called 911.

Arriving officers found one suspect critically wounded in the backyard outside the window.

Police say their initial investigation supports Goodwin's account of self-defense against an intruder.

Goodwin said he wished he didn't have to pull the trigger.

"Shouldn't happen, shouldn't happen," he said.

Police officers checked up on Goodwin Wednesday, to make sure he was okay.

Daughter Vernita is trying again to persuade him to join her family in Moreno Valley, but she knows he'll have to make the decision.

"I'm going to stay here as long as I want to," he said. "When I leave, it won't be because they ran me away."
 

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