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67-year-old stroke victim fights off knife-wielding robber with cane

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - John Reed’s home on Mulberry Street in Winston-Salem has long been an oasis for he and his wife, as well as a safe haven for people in the neighborhood who run into trouble. But, on Sunday, trouble came knocking at their front door.

“My dog went crazy, barking,” Reed told WGHP. “I hear somebody beating, so I went to the door to see who it was.”

It was around 4:40 a.m. Reed, who will turn 68 within the month, opened the door. He was met by two men, one of whom rushed him.

“Slung me against the sofa there and I went down because I’ve had a stroke and I can’t move too good,” Reed said.

The assailant, armed with a knife, made his way into Reed’s home while the other man stayed in the doorway.

“Held me with one hand, had the knife at me with the other one, talking about he wanted the money,” Reed said.

As Reed told the man where his wallet was, his wife came into the room.

“I told her, ‘Go back, girl. Go back, I got this,’” Reed recalled. “The guy with the knife said, ‘Go get her, she’ll call the police,’ and I said, ‘No, no, she ain’t got a telephone, I got the telephone in here with me.’”

As Reed’s wife retreated, the man started rummaging through the wallet.

“He looked down and started counting the money, and when he looked down I hit him with my walking cane,” Reed said.

Reed says he hit the man across the neck and shoulder.

“He swung at me with the knife, I hit him on the arm, then he swung at me again with the knife, like jabbing me,” Reed said.

As Reed continued to strike the man with his cane, the robbers withdrew and ran from the home.

Reed had been cut but was treated by EMS at the home. He says the second suspect never came into the home, instead, he stayed in the doorway.

“He really didn’t want to come in, afraid I’d recognize him or something,” Reed said.

Winston-Salem police say this case is a priority and they’ve been investigating since the crime occurred. A detective was back at the home Monday morning.

In the meantime, Reed has a message for the men who robbed and assaulted him.

“I may be old and had a stroke, but I’m not weak,” he said. “The guy standing at the door, I think I know who you are and you’re mine.”