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11/06/2005

83 year old man defends himself, had been carrying a gun since a previous attack

Youngstown, Ohio, Tuesday, November 1
Walter Swita used a German Luger 9 mm pistol he brought home from World War II to shoot an intruder he suspects robbed him a few weeks ago.

The intruder, Benjamin Brooks, 44, of East Philadelphia Avenue, died Sunday at St. Elizabeth Health Center. Swita shot him in the head and chest around 10:30 p.m. Friday.

Brooks, whose record included robbery and breaking and entering, lived around the corner from Swita.. . .

The elderly man's 80-year-old two-story house is in the middle of a commercial district that features bars, eateries and other businesses. As a safety precaution, he's considering cutting back or removing a large bush that obscures his front porch.
"I think he's the one who attacked me about six weeks ago in the back yard," Swita said of Brooks. "He smashed me hard in the face and when I fell down he looked through my wallet and took $60."

Swita said he started carrying his German Luger after the attack, not sure whether the vintage pistol would even fire. He said he served in General George Patton's 3rd Army but didn't shoot at anyone. He repaired tanks and Jeeps. After the first robbery, Swita, who lives alone, began parking across the street when he returned home, not in his rear yard driveway. He'd hide the pistol against his leg until he was safe inside.

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