Firefighters enter home, elderly woman opens fire
March 29, 2016
After firefighters responded to an accidental medical alert signal inside a San Luis Obispo home, a disoriented elderly woman feared burglars had entered her house, grabbed a revolver and fired two shots, according to the San Luis Obispo Police Department. No one was injured.
Early Sunday morning, a medical alarm activated at a home home in the 100 block of Del Norte Way. San Luis Obispo firefighters and SLO Ambulance employees responded to the house. The fire department has agreements with some citizens which allow firefighters to enter their homes when a medical alert is activated.
When emergency personnel arrived, they determined two elderly residents were sleeping inside. Responders contacted both individuals and concluded they were not in need of medical attention.
Firefighters and ambulance personnel then returned to their vehicles. They were about to leave the scene when they heard the sound a single gunshot inside the house. Seconds later, the elderly woman stepped out of the home and fired a gunshot into the air, according to the police department.
Police officers responded to a “shots fired” call at approximately 2 a.m. Officers then established a perimeter around the home and spoke with a family member who had arrived at the house before them.
The woman said the elderly couple inside the home were her parents and she had secured the firearm.
During an investigation, police determined the elderly woman became disoriented and confused when fire personnel awoke her. She grabbed a family-owned revolver in order to protect herself and her husband from burglars.
The woman accidentally discharged a single round while loading the weapon. At that point, she was still in fear and wanted to scare the intruders, so she fired a single shot into the air, according to the police department.
Police say she did not fire any shots directly at emergency personnel.
Officers did not arrest the woman, but police say she negligently discharged a firearm. The police department is submitting a report to the county district attorney’s office, and prosecutors will consider filing a charge of negligent discharge of a firearm.
San Luis Obispo police say the incident brings to light training, safety and security concerns associated with responsible gun ownership.