The intruder shattered the storm door of a house on Raymond Road in Copiah County, then opened the second door, and surprised 76 year old Lillian Castleberry, who lived by herself at the time. She was shot twice in the back, and robbed of some cash.
With those gunshot wounds, Castleberry was able to drive her Lincoln Town Car to a friend's house a mile and a half away.
"I went to the front door, opened it up, Ms. Lilly was standing at the door in a dismayed condition," says Dwight Riddle. "She was bleeding profusely from the side of her head over the ear, and the chest and back. We helped stop the bleeding as best we could."
Riddle believes Castleberry was beaten as well.
Riddle and his wife normally have coffee with Castleberry every morning. They know where she lives, so Riddle led investigators to Castleberry's house.
"She's a pretty close neighbor of mine," says Copiah County Sheriff Harold Jones, who lives close to Castleberry.
Sheriff Jones says, despite her ordeal, Castleberry stayed calm, and she's doing well in her recovery at UMC.
"At no time I talked to her (that night) at Mr. Riddle's house did she seem under any duress, other than a little loss of blood," Sheriff Jones says. "She was sitting up, talking, when the paramedics got there. They checked her, even called me (en route to the hospital) and told me her blood pressure was fine, she was very stable. The gunshots were in the top part of her back. From what the hospital says, they're gonna leave them in there because they think they will do more harm to her if they tried to remove them at this time."
With the offender still at large, the close-knit community remains on alert.
"Telephone numbers have been exchanged that weren't before maybe. We monitor and look at cars going by. Being in the country, very few strange cars go by, so we watch as best we can," Riddle says.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Copiah County Sheriff's Department at 601-894-3011.
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