Grandmother fights off attacker in her home: 'God gave me strength'

Grandmother attacked in her home, fights back

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A 63-year-old grandmother was attacked in her north Charlotte home early Thursday morning but managed to fight off her assailant.

The woman, who spoke to Channel 9, said she found the intruder in her bathroom early Thursday morning.

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Officers told Channel 9 that just before 1 a.m., they were called to the Tanglewood Apartments on Wynbrook Way, just off Dalecrest Drive near Interstate 85 and North Graham Street, in reference to a breaking and entering.

The woman, who didn’t want to be identified, said a young man forced her clothes off and tried to get her to perform sex acts until she found the strength to fight back.

“I was just shaking,” she said. “I said, ‘Please, leave my house.’”

The woman was home by herself at the time. She relies on oxygen when she is sleeping and often uses a wheelchair.

She said the man moved her toward the couch and tried to force her to perform sex acts.

She fought back and was able to get the attacker out of her home.

“God gave me strength and I just hope nobody goes through that stuff,” she said.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police told Channel 9 this situation is extremely rare. Officers said 85 to 90 percent of sexual assault cases involve a known suspect.

“Stranger, absolutely unknown to each other is extremely rare in this community and everywhere,” CMPD Lt. Melanie Peacock said.

CMPD is keeping officers through the night on the street where the attempted attack happened.

The woman said she appreciates the extra resources and hopes the suspect gets arrested soon.

“You don't want nobody to touch your mom or your daughter,” she said. “It ain't no funny stuff you're doing out there. Turn yourself in. God see what you're doing.”

The attacker was described as an African-American man, approximately 20 to 25 years old, with a thin build and is about 6 feet tall. He was wearing a gray sweatshirt and jeans.

The apartment complex is filled with mothers and daughters, many of them telling Channel 9 they're desperate for police to release more information about the attacker.

Channel 9 crime-mapped a half-mile area around the apartment complex and found that within the past six months, there have been eight aggravated assaults, 19 non-aggravated assaults, an armed robbery and a homicide, which Eyewitness News covered in June.

In that crime, 34-year-old Lucas Baldwin was shot and killed by another man during an argument.

The mother of Baldwin’s two young daughters still lives in the apartment complex and told Channel 9 that Thursday’s attack is just the latest crime that's destroyed their sense of safety.

"Everybody come together as one, because there's too much in this neighborhood that's going on," Porsha Young said.

Young, one of many of the mothers who live in the apartments, said they are locking their windows and their doors because they say anyone here could be next.

"That's a couple steps away from my door, so that's a big shock,” Young said. "Who knows who could be targeted next?"

Sylvia Cannon, the head of the Derita, Statesville Road Community Organization, said it is a struggle bringing neighbors together.

"There are a lot of renters in that neighborhood, and they don't seem to develop pride of ownership,” Cannon said. "I'm going to keep talking until we can get these people to understand you got to talk to each other, you got to talk to the cops."

Young agreed that neighbors need to look out for each other.

Community leaders are trying to organize a neighborhood meeting.

They are hoping to create a network of neighbors who will start trying to protect each other from dangerous criminals.

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