SPOKANE — Mary Rock says she wasn’t about to give up her car without a fight.
The 87-year-old woman told The Spokesman-Review that she fought back this week against a man who authorities say shot two sheriff’s deputies.
Police say Charles R. Wallace, 41, broke down her back door, ripped her phone off the wall and demanded her car keys after the shooting Tuesday. Rock says she used her cane to beat on Wallace as she shouted for him to leave her north Spokane house.
“He was a big man,” Rock told paper Wednesday. “Oh, was I scared.”
Police say Wallace, 41, broke in to Rock’s home shortly after he shot and wounded two deputies during a traffic stop. Authorities say he then led police on a wild chase in Rock’s car, shooting at pursuing law enforcement officers before crashing just outside of Deer Park and killing himself with a gunshot to the head.
Rock said she was in her living room watching television and sorting mail when she heard a commotion in her kitchen. She went to investigate and found Wallace standing there after apparently breaking down her back door.
“I said, ‘What are you doing in my house? Get out of my house.”’
Rock says she reached for the phone to call 911, but Wallace ripped it out of the wall, then demanded the keys to her car.
“I said, ‘Oh my God, this man means business,’” she said. “I began hitting him with my cane. I says, ‘Get out of my house,’ and he was shoving me. He pushed me down. I said, ‘You can’t have my car, I need my car.”’
The struggle continued into her living room, where the intruder found her fanny pack containing her house keys, car keys and cellphone.
Wallace dragged her out into the driveway, according to witnesses, hitting her with the butt of his gun, but she continued to fight back, striking him with her cane.
A neighbor, Kevin Marsh, witnessed the commotion.
“She whacked him with her cane,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it.”
Marsh approached with another bystander and tried to help.
“He pointed the pistol at me,” Marsh said. “I was mostly worried about her. I said, ‘Just leave her alone,’ and he got in her car and took off. It was crazy. If I had my shotgun, he never would have made it out of the driveway.”
Police say Wallace drove off in Rock’s 2002 Honda Accord and led them on a pursuit northward that ended with his death.
Rock’s biggest concerns were that she couldn’t get back into her home Tuesday evening — it was a cordoned-off crime scene — and that Wallace had taken her car, which she had just filled up with gas.
Throughout the struggle, Rock said she never realized that the man was armed. She was not seriously hurt in the scuffle.
“Everyone said I was so lucky he didn’t pull the gun on me,” she said. “You’d think that you’d be safe in your own home.”