YORK COUNTY, S.C. — Joyce Scalia doesn't want to be alone at home, not even for a few minutes. The 74-year-old woman was hit in the head with a hammer when a man she'd never seen before forced his way into her home. She now has staples in the side of her head and a skull fracture.
"It was terrible. I was going in and out. I didn't know what to do. I was scared," she said.
York police said Joseph Allen McBride, 41, attacked Scalia and her grandson with the hammer.
He was at their door early Sunday morning on Westgate Lane asking for someone who didn't live there. He then forced his way in.
"He hit him in the back of the neck. Then he (came over,) and I hadn't said nothing, and he popped me upside the head," she said.
Paramedics took her to the hospital.
Investigators said the violence didn't end there. They said McBride ran from that home and tried to break into a home on Ross Cannon Street, but a man there showed a gun and scared the intruder off.
McBride then broke into another home on Ashe Street where a couple was sleeping. The victims, Molika Peoples and her husband, were terrified.
"I screamed and when I screamed, he came into the room on me,” Peoples said. “And that's when my husband woke up.”
They noticed the suspect had a hammer in his hand.
"I was, like, ‘You can use my car. Just don't hurt us. You can use the car,’" Peoples said.
She said the suspect behaved oddly and offered her $10,000 for her car keys.
"He said he just wanted to get away. He was trying to get away," she said.
McBride ran out of the house, tried to get into her car, gave up and took off running toward the woods behind the York Rec Center, which borders Ashe Street.
York police, along with K-9 officers, found McBride in the woods. Officers were close by after responding to the first two 911 calls.
The victims' quick calls to police helped officers make an arrest before McBride could leave the area, officials said.
McBride faces multiple felony charges. He was denied bond.
He was charged with first-degree burglary and two counts of assault and battery, though other charges are pending.