Armed elderly woman holds police at bay

September 9, 2009 2:44:29 PM PDT
There was an unusual police standoff in Orange County Wednesday. An elderly woman with a rifle was threatening to shoot anyone who came in her apartment. It happened in Middletown, and it ended peacefully. But there were some tense moments.

In the end, the 84-year-old woman, shielded by police, was led out of the apartment shee had barricaded herself inside. It started around 10:15 a.m. when Bertha Burrows locked herself in a bedroom and threatened to shoot anyone who entered.

Burrows lives with a home attendant, who called 911. Within minutes, SWAT teams descended on the Middlecrest Crossing Apartments, a senior complex with 100 units.

Burrows was armed with a .22-caliber, single-shot rifle that she had bought years ago. After an hour and 45 minutes, a state police investigator convinced the elderly woman to leave the apartment.

Police say Burrows complained that a recent change of medication was poisoning her, that people were stealing from her and that she was upset over the loss of her beloved poodle. Neighbors say Burrows' dog, Rags, was taken away during a recent hospital stay.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King

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