ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – The Orange County Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's help finding a man who attacked and severely injured a 92-year-old woman.
The incident happened between 9 and 9:30 a.m. Wednesday on North Hiawassee Road in Pine Hills.
"She's very well-liked. She lived in her neighborhood since 1974. She has lived in that neighborhood for 44 years and is well known. She is the type of person who, I am told, has coffee with the mailman," said Jane Watrel with the Orange County Sheriff's Office.
The woman, who the Sheriff's Office said is a 40-year resident of Orange County, said she was in her garage doing laundry when she heard the doorbell ring, officials said.
"She heard someone at the door. The man wanted to come in and use the bathroom. She told him no but there was a struggle. A gun was produced and she fought him. He wanted to do her harm. That's what our detectives believe," said Watrel.
The woman did not know the man, who came to her door asking to use the bathroom. After she refused, officials said the man became aggressive and a struggle ensued.
The man pointed a firearm at the woman. Officials said the man and woman struggled, and during the struggle the man pushed the woman to the ground, breaking her back.
"She's still in intensive care as far as I know. She's had extensive surgery on her back. She has had to have spinal surgery and so she's recovering from that," said Watrel.
The woman was taken to a hospital and underwent hours of surgery, according to the Sheriff's Office. Officials said she is still hospitalized, but is in stable condition.
The suspect is described by authorities as a black man between 20 and 30 years of age who is heavily built and about 5 feet 5 inches to 5 feet 8 inches tall. Officials said the man was last seen wearing a gray coat with orange in or around his pockets, dark gray pants and a furry skully hat.
Authorities said anyone who knows the man's whereabouts or information about the incident may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Tipsters can call Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS (8477).