HEMET (CBSLA) -- A Hemet couple in their 70s are bruised and battered but say they are alive because they were armed and not afraid to open fire on a man who broke into their home.
KCAL9's Tina Patel spoke to the couple about their ordeal and how they fought back.
"I really wanted to hurt this guy, I really did," says Jeff Sagmeister.
And Sagmeister says he doesn't feel bad about opening fire on the suspect. He says the man broke into his home early Tuesday morning.
The 71-year-old says a gun was the only way he could fight back against 27-year-old Dechawn Wallace.
"That lowlife was in our house, and he shouldn't be in here," Sagmeister says, matter-of-factly.
He said when he first saw Wallace in his home, he was too stunned to shoot.
"We're really fighting for the gun, and the only thing I thought to myself was if he takes this gun away from me, he was going to kill me." Sagmeister said.
The gun went off while they wrestled around. The bullet hit the wall behind the toilet.
Wallace tried to run out at that point, not realizing Mrs. Sagmeister was also armed.
"When he came out, he nailed her in the face as hard as he could," he said.
The couple held their ground and both opened fire.
"I shot him at least three or four more times in the chest area," Sagmeister said.
Wallace ended up getting away. But he was arrested when he showed up at a Moreno Valley Hospital for treatment of his gunshot wounds.
Sagmeister is glad he was caught and is now telling the neighbors in his senior community that if they don't want to become victims, they should consider arming themselves.
"You just have to do it because you can't let some creep come in here and wail on you," Sagmeister says, "and take all your stuff."
Wallace was treated for his wounds and taken to county jail.
Police said he was on parole at the time of the burglary and has an extensive record of violent crime.
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