Sunday, April 30, 2017

Elderly woman killed trying to help her friend; hailed as a hero

FUSAKO PETRUS tried to help a friend who was being attacked. She was 86-years old and used a cane to walk, but that didn't stop her from her heroic act.

Fusako Petrus
But the young man was too strong for the frail senior citizen. The man punched and kicked the two women, as another person at the track called authorities.

In northern California, Sacramento County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Tony Turnbull says the woman and a 61-year-old companion, who was only slightly injured, were walking on the track at Highlands High School in North Highlands when they were targeted early Wednesday (April 26) by a young man.

Petrus reportedly used her cane to try and drive the man away from her friend, who has not been identified by authorities.

“The other woman was attacked first, from my understanding," Petrus' family friend, Vicki Butler, said. "He was choking her and Fusako started hitting him with her walking stick, and it allowed her (neighbor) to get away.”

When deputies arrived, Petrus was already dead, and the suspect had fled. Police say both women were sexually assaulted. Police are not investigating the beating as a hate crime.

Later that same day, the suspect, Neven Glen Butler, 18, was arrested in another assault on a third elderly woman.

“I think she's a hero. She gave her life to save her friend,” said Dolores Hines, who lives down the block from Petrus and her walking companion, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“She walked every day but Saturdays,” said neighbor Lloyd Miller, 88, who usually watched her leave while eating breakfast by his front window.

Neighbor Lloyd Miller said Petrus met her husband in her native Japan after World War II. She was a clerk at the store of California's former McClellan Air Force Base until her retirement, he told the Los Angeles Times.