Detectives intensifying search for woman's assailant

FRESNO, Calif.

The shooting left 91-year-old Marcella Miller partially paralyzed. Miller was shot when someone broke into her San Joaquin home Thursday.

Now she's in the hospital with a bullet lodged in her spine. And detectives have not yet arrested the shooter.

The Fresno County Sheriff's Office knows the shooter is a man, but beyond that there is not much of a description. They also said it appears that he's an experienced thief.

Miller has lived in San Joaquin for nearly nine decades. She and her 63-year-old daughter, Marilyn, were asleep at home on Thanksgiving morning. Detectives said someone smashed a window then went inside and confronted them.

"In a cowardly act, he shot a defenseless 91-year-old woman in the face," said Fresno County Detective Leo Lopez. "He had no reason to do that, he just did."

Sheriff's officials are angry over the case. They said home invasions in San Joaquin are rare. The crook left the home right after he shot Miller. She is now in the hospital on a ventilator.

Sgt. Lopez said Miller has a bullet permanently lodged in her spine, which may have left her partially paralyzed. "She has other fragments in her body right now, but at this point the doctors are choosing not to go after them, primarily because of her age," Lopez said.

Sheriff's officials said before the shooting Miller is a very active woman for her age. She still drives and enjoys gardening. She's also a breast cancer survivor.

Detectives said Miller's daughter, Marilyn, only saw a profile of the suspect. And with few details to go on they're looking for tips.

"Even if you don't think it's important, it could still be critical to the case," Sgt. Lopez said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Fresno County Sheriff's Office at 559-488-3111.

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