Don't mess with Fred RicciuttiWhen soldiers come home from their tours of duty, they generally don’t have a need to pull their weapons out anymore. But 84-year-old vet Fred Ricciutti held on to his, and it’s a good thing he did. He was forced to use the same gun he carried on the frontlines of the Korean War in the early 1950’s to shoot a prowler who broke into his Pittsburgh-area home on Tuesday. Sixty years later, it still does what it’s supposed to do. Too bad somebody had to find that out the hard way.
Turns out next door neighbor Raymond Hiles, 25, had broken into the home the elderly man shares with his wife around 4:30 in the morning, ostensibly to rob them. The couple was staying downstairs because Mrs. Ricciutti was sick, but apparently her hubby kept his heat stashed conveniently in various areas of the house. He opened a drawer, pulled out his gun, yelled a warning, and fired a shot that hit Hiles right in his neck and of course, thwarted his breaking and entering.
This isn’t the moral of the story just yet, but this seems like a good place to stop and just ruminate on Hiles’ behalf. Think senior citizens are an easy target for crime? Bet he wasn’t banking on the man of the house being a gun-blazin’ sharpshooter with the aim of a guy half his age. So the perpetrator, in this case, ended up being a surprise victim. "In the war, I experienced a lot of bad things, but I had never experienced that in my own house," the Italy-born Ricciutti said about the invasion. Sorry you had to go through that, but good for you nonetheless, sir.
There’s more. Hiles’ family, who live across the street from the Ricciuttis, came over after word got around of the incident and tearfully apologized for his actions. "I know the family. They're good people," the older man said. He forgave them, he added, because he couldn't hold them responsible for Hiles' actions. Considering some neighbors develop all-out vendettas against one another other for letting the grass grow too high, that’s amazing.
As for Hiles, he was arrested a few blocks away carrying a screwdriver and a stun gun, which the doofus thankfully never got a chance to use. That man was really going to go in and shake those poor old folks up—right across the street from his family home, at that. I can only think of one thing that would drive an otherwise normal man to creep into the home of his aged neighbors in the middle of the night. At any rate, he's being held on $100,000 bail on charges including criminal trespass and burglary.
No charges will be brought against Ricciutti, however, who is now a hero three times over: once for his service in the war, once for protecting his wife and his home, and once for immediately extending the kind of forgiveness that people talk about, but rarely demonstrate.
Could you forgive someone who intentionally meant you harm, even if it wasn’t physical?
Image via WPXI-TV