92-year-old San Jacinto resident fires gun at axe-wielding burglar

Trevor Montgomery


SAN JACINTO – A 92-year-old WWII veteran fired a shot at a burglary suspect on Jan. 31, after the unidentified man attempted to gain access into the victim’s residence. The suspect reportedly attempted to smash his way through a garage door of the residence before shattering a window and attempting to climb into the home. The suspect was reportedly not hit by the fired shot, sheriff Sgt. Craig McDonald wrote about the incident.

area of Chase St., where yesterday's attempted burglary occurred.

1400 block of Chase St., where yesterday’s attempted burglary occurred.

Deputies from the Riverside County Sheriff’s San Jacinto Police Station responded to a 911 call at about 11:00 a.m., after receiving the report of a residential burglary and shots fired in the 1400 block of Chase St., in San Jacinto.

During their investigation, deputies learned that a dark-complected male, described as approximately 20-30 years-old, tried to break into the victim’s home, by smashing his way through an exterior garage door.

The elderly homeowner, who has been identified by multiple media sources as Joseph Milspaugh, heard the suspect attempting to break through the front door and armed himself with a 1911 .45 cal. handgun. Milspaugh said he keeps the gun in his home for protection.

As Milspaugh approached the door while armed with his handgun, he suddenly saw the suspect smash through an exterior glass window of the home. He then saw the suspect attempting to climb into his home through the shattered window, while armed with an axe.

Fearing for his safety, Milspaugh fired one round from his handgun at the suspect. Milspaugh has stated in other interviews he could have shot the man, but he chose not to in order to spare himself from any potential trouble. Milspaugh speculated his home was targeted on a Sunday morning because the suspect might have thought most of the neighbors and occupants of his home would be away at church at that time.

“It is believed the suspect was not hit by the bullet; however, he immediately fled the scene,” Sgt. McDonald wrote about the incident. When the suspect fled the residence, he left the axe, a hat and several other items behind that deputies collected as evidence.

Anyone with information regarding the identity of the suspect in this incident is encouraged to call Deputy Rutigliano with the San Jacinto Police Department at (951) 654-2702. Callers can refer to incident file number I160310042 and can remain anonymous.


Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

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