A 70-year-old woman was robbed at gunpoint inside her Soniat Street home shortly after nightfall Tuesday, witnesses and New Orleans police said.
The woman (whose name is being withheld by Uptown Messenger) said she had left open the back door to her fenced-in backyard in the 1100 block of Soniat Street in order to let a cat come in shortly after dark on Tuesday (July 1), and she was in an upstairs bedroom reading when the figure of a man appeared in the hallway. She immediately surmised that he was there to rob her, she said, so she stood to try to reach another room but her burst in and grabbed her violently by the arm.
The intruder put a long-barreled pistol to her head and said he only wanted her money, she said.
“I had that fleeting thought of, ‘Oh my God, is this guy going to kill me?’” she said afterward, noting that she remained strangely calm. “I said, ‘I’ll cooperate. You don’t have to put that gun to my head.’”
The man, she said, was extremely agitated and repeatedly cursed her.
“He kept calling me ‘bitch,’” she said. “I guess that’s to make himself seem tough.”
The only money she had, she said, was in a wallet in a downstairs drawer, so she led him down to it, with him clinging roughly to her arm entire time. She showed him the cash, and he said angrily, “This is all you have?” then took it and left, leaving the credit cards and everything else behind.
After he left, she called the police and went to the home of a neighbor in the block, Windy Dalton, to wait. Dalton said she had barely started telling him what happened when the first patrol car arrived, and other neighbors soon showed up to offer her a place to stay overnight if she needed it.
“I don’t know what kind of gun it was, but I’m just glad he didn’t use the damn thing,” Dalton said.
During the altercation, the man slammed her against the wall, leaving several large bumps on her head, she said, and his grip left her arm sore and bruising. But just as painful, she said, is the thought that it is unsafe at the home where she has lived for more than 40 years for her to give her cat the simple freedom to come and go from an enclosed backyard.
“You can’t even leave your door open to let your cat come in,” she said.
At least four marked police units and several unmarked cars surrounded her house for several hours as various aspects of the investigation proceeded. Police have not yet released a description of a suspect or any other details of the investigation.
Anyone in the area with surveillance cameras is urged to call the Second District station at 658-6020 to speak to a detective. To leave an anonymous tip that could be eligible for a cash reward, call CrimeStoppers at 822-1111.
[Correction: An earlier version of this article referred to the day of the home invasion incorrectly. The incident was reported at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 1, as the article has been updated to show.]