South Seattle

Police: Masked gunmen attack, rob 83-year-old woman

Police: Masked gunmen attack, rob 83-year-old woman »Play Video
Toshiko Hoashi

SEATTLE -- Seattle police are searching for three masked robbers who broke down the door to a Beacon Hill home, held a gun to an elderly woman's head, and dragged her around the house as they ransacked it.

One of the suspects fired a gun into the floor, detectives say, before they took off with the victim's jewelry and money.

"I was working on the computer. Then I heard some strange noise," said the victim Toshiko Hoashi, of Wednesday night's robbery. "I thought rats or squirrels (were) running around outside. But the sound (was) getting bigger and bigger. And then two big noise(s) - and I thought, 'oh, maybe someone (got) into house.'"

Hoashi, who is 83 years old, picked up the phone to dial 911. She hadn't been patched through  yet when one of the robbers ripped the phone out of her hand.

"Three men came in with a pistol, like this to me," she continued, gesturing at her head, "so I couldn't do anything, just hold the telephone. They said, 'Who are you calling? What are you talking (about)?' I said, 'My friend, my sick friend.'"

The robbers then threw her glasses off, pushed her to the floor, and went through the house room by room, detectives said.

Hoashi, a mother and grandmother born in Japan, said she's lived in Beacon Hill for nearly 20 years. The house - in the 4900 block of 28th St. SE - isn't just her home, however; it also doubles as a Tenrikyo church for the community, which Hoashi oversees.

"I told them, 'This is a church, so I don't have money. I'm working for the god to help other people. I don't have money.' They didn't care," she added.

Hoashi believes the robbers were in the house almost 30 minutes before leaving. She eventually escaped to a neighbor's house for help, and called 911 from there.

Detectives have no suspect description, according to a police report, but Hoashi's family hopes that her stolen credit cards might lead police to the people responsible.

"Last night I couldn't sleep well," Hoashi said. "Even now, (it's) still strange around here."