Baldwin Village World War II Veteran Fires Gun at Burglar

He uses long dormant weapon to make a stand

Jack Goodwin was listening to the Lakers game on the radio Tuesday night when he heard a loud noise outside his house in Baldwin Village.

He grabbed the 9mm gun that he hadn't fired in two decades.

"I take good care of it," he said, just to be ready for a situation like the one that came his way Tuesday night. "Boom, boom, boom, it was real loud, like a jackhammer. I usually keep my gun at night near the bed. I ran and ran to see what it was."

With bum knees, Goodwin cannot move quickly. He's lived the past 40 years in the Baldwin Village home, where he finished raising three daughters with his beloved wife Ruby. She passed away a few years ago.

His daughters want him to move out to Moreno Valley to be closer to them, but they also respect his independence and self-reliance.

"He's a true soldier," said Vernita Goodwin.

Goodwin doesn't want to reveal his age, but he offers this clue: He served in Okinawa during World War Two. And he still has the paperwork showing he was ranked as a marksman.

Goodwin told us his home had been burglarized before, when he was out of the house. But it was nothing like what happened Tuesday night.

He described seeing shadowy figures at the window.

"I fired when I saw them breaking the glass out," he said.

Goodwin called 9-1-1.  Arriving officers found one suspect critically wounded in the backyard outside the window. Police say their initial investigation supports Goodwin's account of self-defense against an intruder.

Goodwin said he wished he didn't have to pull the trigger.

"Shouldn't happen, shouldn't happen," he said.

Police officers checked up on Goodwin Wednesday, to make sure he was OK. Daughter Vernita is trying again to persuade him to join her family in Moreno Valley. But she knows he'll have to make the decision.

"I'm going to stay here as long as I want to," he said. "When I leave, it won't be because they ran me away."

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