Victim of Home Invasion Shot During Self-Defense Lesson

80-year-old man says he's "lucky to be alive."

By Edward J. Carr
|  Saturday, Oct 3, 2009  |  Updated 3:15 PM CDT
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Ralph Needs, 80, was the victim of a home invasion on Sept. 20, in Groveport, Ohio. In the assault, he was tied up and pistol-whipped when at least three intruders broke into his Columbus area home. Four days later, Needs was shot in the hand during a self-defense lesson.

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To say it was a rough week for Ralph Needs would be an understatement.

On Sept. 20 the 80-year-old Ohioan was the victim of a brutal home invasion where he was tied up, beaten and pistol-whipped repeatedly, the New York Daily News reported.

The assailants then threatened him with an "electric torture device," according to Needs, and demanded he fork over $20,000. When they plugged the device into the wall, it blew a fuse and the power went out.

Cutting their losses, the robbers left Needs to die in a pool of his own blood while they took his truck, computer and credit cards.

Four days after the incident, Needs wanted to learn a bit more about self-defense and guns with the help of his sons. As one of his sons was loading a 9mm pistol, it went off, hitting Needs in the hand.

Needs now suffers from gunshot wounds to his thumb and pinkie fingers in addition to a broken nose and crushed sinuses.

"I thought I was going to die several times," he said. "I guess I feel lucky to be alive."

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