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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami Police said an 88-year-old homeowner opened fire on a burglar who tried to break into her house Tuesday night.

Neighbors are applauding the widow’s actions. She lives alone in that home.

“Well that was awesome,” said one of the victim’s neighbors, Gladys Betancourt. “You have to do what you have to do to protect yourself. I’m glad she did this. She was a very brave woman. I wouldn’t.”

Betancourt told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “She took the initiative to do something. He won’t be back. I’ll tell you that.”

The lead detective in the case told D’Oench that it was 10:38 p.m. on Tuesday when Arlene Theresa Orms heard someone jiggling her front door lock and trying to get in her front door.

The detective said when the burglar kicked open that door, Orms shot him with her .25-caliber Beretta handgun.

It’s not known if that burglar was struck by the one bullet that she fired or if that burglar had an accomplice. But he was not able to steal anything before he fled from Orms’ home.

Orms’ next-door neighbor Maria Dominguez also commended Orms, saying, “It’s good.”

Another next-door neighbor, Raul Barreto, said, “I believe if someone tries to get into your house, maybe, shoot. You are not going to ask them are you going to be nice or good. The question is what are you doing on my property?”

Records show Orms has no criminal record.

Neighbors say she has lived alone in the home since her husband died in 1993.

The lead Miami Police detective in this case said he was not sure if Orms has a permit or not for her weapon but added the law does not require you to have a permit to use a weapon in your home.

He said Orms’ weapon has been taken as evidence but he also said she will be getting her gun back on Thursday. He also said police will be stepping up their patrols around the neighborhood.

Detective Sean Dorcely said he was scouring the neighborhood for surveillance tape that might show the burglar.

Neighbors say that there has been an increase in burglaries in their neighborhood.

“This neighborhood used to be a good place for the past 20 years,” said Betancourt. “But lately in the street, people are coming around.”


Anyone who can help Miami Police should call them or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477).

Peter D'Oench