According to The Mercury News in Southern California Lorenza Marrujo, 67, used her extensive martial arts training to come to the aid of her 87-year-old neighbor. Her neighbor was reportedly being assaulted by a 59-year-old man.
The incident happened on Monday at an apartment building in Fontana, CA. It’s then that police say Donald Prestwood came to a third floor apartment looking for his girlfriend. Prestwood lives in the same building and also does handyman work for some residents.
Marrujo, who also lives in the building, said she encountered Prestwood there and that he appeared to be drunk. She said that Prestwood grabbed at her. Marrujo said she responded to this by grabbing a neon-yellow baseball bat and telling Prestwood to, “back off or I will have to hurt you.”
Marrujo said Prestwood retreated and then went down to the first floor and the apartment of his girlfriend’s mother, a woman Marrujo refers to as “Mama Liz”. Marrujo said she followed Prestwood and, after hearing screams, entered Mama Liz’s apartment.
The lights were off so she turned on the flashlight on her phone. She said that when she did that she saw Prestwood standing over Mama Liz, who uses a wheelchair.
Marrujo, who is 4-foot-11 and weighs 100 pounds, said she then tried to sweep the leg of Prestwood, who is listed as 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds in a police booking report. In the ensuing fumble Marrujo ended up beneath Mama Liz, with Prestwood using his legs to hold them down.
That’s when Marrujo said she had to change tactics.
“I had to bend his fingers back … to get him off her,” she said. “He was screaming because that’s one of my techniques, the bent fingers. Then I went ‘boom’ with my elbow twice in his sternum.”
Marrujo said she then got on top of Prestwood and pinned him with knees on his chest and neck and her hand over his mouth. Police then arrived and arrested Prestwood on suspicion of elder abuse. He was booked into West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga on $150,000 bail.
Marrujo told reporters that she studied criminal justice at Chaffey College and hoped to become a crime scene investigator or a lawyer. She said she also trained in jujitsu between 1981 and 2007 and that she owns a black-belt associated with that discipline.
“I needed it in case I had a close encounter of the bad kind,” Marrujo said. “I prefer to be called Lady Ninja.”
“I’m the master of assassination,” added Marrujo, who also claimed that if she wasn’t so out of practice she could have done more damage to Prestwood.
Officer Jennie Venzor of the Fontana police praised Marrujo for her actions. “I think she was very courageous and she jumped in to save her friend.”
Venzor added that she would prefer people in this situation focused on being a “good witness” instead of engaging an attacker themselves.