Valley World War II veteran attacked in home invasion robbery

FRESNO, Calif.

The home invasion robbery happened around 2 a.m., Wednesday morning, near Lewis and Willow in Fresno County. Officers are now asking for your help in identifying the suspects.

The 92-year-old victim was shaken and didn't want us to use his full name in our report, but told Action News, despite suffering from a few cuts and bruises to his head and cheek, he didn't require hospitalization and is doing ok.

Joseph, as he asked us to refer to him, has seen his fair share of action over his lifetime.

"I graduated in 1941, went into the service and I was volunteer," he said.

The army veteran drove an armored tank in World War II and fought in four major battles overseas, but says nothing could have prepared him for what happened inside his home overnight.

"I was sound asleep at about one or two o'clock in the morning, all the lights were on and a guy shook me with a gun in my face. (I said) Hey what's going on? (He said) Shut up and he slapped me," he explained.

While the suspect held him at gunpoint, three others ransacked his house, taking about 200 dollars in cash and jewelry including his 1941 class ring from Woodlake High School in Tulare County.

"They were in there for almost a half hour," said Fresno County Sheriff Department spokesperson Chris Curtice. "So they had plenty of time to search the house, it was the middle of the night."

At one point, Joseph said one of the suspects put a gun in his mouth and threatened to kill him. While being ordered into the bedroom closet, he said he hit him in the head with a handgun, causing him to fall to the floor.

"I'm lucky it didn't lock," said Joseph. "Then I crawled from over there to that door. I couldn't get up because it was cold and then finally I dialed 911 in the kitchen."

The incident has neighbors in the area scared.

"It's nerve wracking and it seems to be getting worse," said one neighbor who identified herself as Melvada. "When I first moved here it was a very lovely neighborhood, never heard of anything bad and now it's changed quite a bit."

It also left the World War II veteran hoping the suspects are caught before they strike again.

"They got that $200," said Joseph. "God Bless them. I hope they got something worth that $200."

Fresno County sheriff's deputies believe another home was hit in the area just before Joseph's. It's now working with the Fresno Police Department to determine whether the two incidents are related.

In the meantime, the suspects are described as three black males and a small black female in their early 20's. They were last seen wearing black pants and black sweatshirts with red writing or an emblem on the front. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Fresno County Sheriff's Department or Fresno police.

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