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Woman shoots attacker four times

Originally ran here as:
"Woman shoots attacker with his own gun"
By T.J. WILHAM, Indiana Star-Press
June 29, 2001

MUNCIE - Confronted by an armed robber in her home early Thursday morning, a Muncie woman managed to shoot her attacker with his own gun, seriously wounding him.

Joel Williams Jr., 35, 301 E. First St. - whom police identified as the attacker - was listed in critical condition at Ball Memorial Hospital late Thursday.

Williams was shot in the torso, leg, arm and head by his intended victim, who was able to grab Williams's handgun while he tried to tie her up.

The woman (whose name is being withheld) had stopped at her house in the 1900 block of South Macedonia Avenue around 12:45 a.m. Thursday with her friend, Leah Lopez. Intending only to change shirts, fix their hair and put on makeup, the 18-year-olds left the car running and the back door unlocked while they were inside.

Minutes later, Williams entered the house, police said.

For 20 minutes, Williams forced the women to go through the house looking for money. He instructed Lopez to go to her car twice, first to turn off the engine and then to retrieve a purse. But the women resisted, and by doing so probably saved their lives, according to police.

Lopez's friend kept insisting she had to go to the bathroom for "personal" reasons, she offered fake jewelry and she even faked a seizure as if she had epilepsy.

During one forced trip to her car, Lopez grabbed a cell phone, hid it in her pants and was eventually able to call 911, even though her hands and feet were tied. Police dispatchers didn't believe her when she told them she was being robbed. Lopez said they told her, "Ma'am, we don't have time to play games like this."

"They showed extreme calm, given the dangerous situation they were in," said Muncie police Sgt. Roc Barrett. "I'd say these girls were very lucky. We normally tell people to cooperate, but what they did worked for them."

While Williams was tying up Lopez's friend, he laid down his gun, Barrett said.

The woman, whose hands were tied in front of her, grabbed the weapon and ran into the bedroom where Lopez was already tied up with telephone cord.

Williams followed her, and the woman fired at him six times. Williams fell on a television set and a lamp, police said. " It was so dark," Lopez said. "When we got the light on, there was blood everywhere."

Police said Williams was able to drive himself home. A friend then took him to the Ball Memorial Hospital emergency room, where police - alerted by Lopez - were waiting.

Williams - who police say is active in a gang - was released from prison on parole in January. He had been incarcerated after an armed robbery conviction, according to records provided by the Indiana Department of Corrections.

According to DOC records, Williams had been convicted of armed robbery in Lake County three times. He had been in prison since 1985.

If Williams survives his gunshot wounds, Barrett said, he could be charged with burglary, robbery and criminal confinement.

When the Thursday morning attack began, Lopez thought at first the masked man was a friend playing a joke on her, but she quickly realized the danger was real.

"When he tied me up, that was when I realized that this guy could kill us," Lopez said hours after the attack. "I hate to say this, but I have no feeling about this. I am just in shock.

"If that ever happened to me again, I know that I might not have the chance to grab a phone or there might not be a gun lying there," the 2001 Southside High School graduate said. "My mom always told me to lock my doors and nothing good happens after 11 o'clock. I realize now, she's right."

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