WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

A  79-year-old South Carolina woman was rescued during an attempted robbery when her son fired seven shots in the direction of attackers who had thrown her to the ground. Two men, disguised by gorilla masks, fled at the sound of the shots, one on foot and the other in an SUV.

Mary Rancourt, the owner of the SeeWee Restaurant, a near landmark destination in Awendaw, was walking home from the restaurant carrying approximately $3,000 in cash receipts of the day.

No money was taken.

Rancourt’s son, Gene Penninger, was able to identify one of the men and detectives from the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office arrested Eugene Ricky Perry, 45, after tracing him to his home where his girlfriend confirmed that he had been involved in the robbery.

Perry was charged with a felony, strong-arm robbery, which is classified as a violent crime punishable by up to fifteen years in prison in South Carolina. Perry was also charged for failure to pay child support.

Penning said, “It was brutal, it was like… like a terrorist attack,” adding that the assault against his elderly mother was “unnecessary. They could have gotten the money and run off into the dark and nobody would have seen them. They didn’t have to push her.”

Rancourt sustained minor injuries and is expected to recover physically, but acknowledges that there will be long-term effects of the attack.

“I am in fear,” she said. “I’ll probably be in fear the rest of my life because of this. I’m certainly very glad my son was here. I really don’t think I’d be alive if he had not been there that night.”

“If they had masks, how do you know it was me?” Perry asked the judge at his bond hearing. Despite having three prior felony convictions, according to Rancourt’s attorney, bond was set at $125,000.

The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office says the second suspect is still at large, as well as a getaway driver and lookout who may also have been involved.

Rancourt’s restaurant is a local and regional landmark and she is well-known to support the community by providing free meals and food supplies to the needy and homeless.

“Anybody that needs something knows they can come here and ask for it and they know if it’s within reason, they’ll get it,” said Rancourt’s daughter-in-law.


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