Thursday, January 15, 2009

Indiana: National media seek out South Bend woman

South Bend, Indiana

From the South Bend Tribune of January 10, 2009
National media seek out South Bend woman

Sandra Hochstedler, the 70-year-old woman who held an intruder at gunpoint earlier this week, is out of the hospital and making the media rounds.

On Friday afternoon, a production crew with the news magazine Inside Edition visited Hochstedler's home to re-create the harrowing standoff for a segment to air on the show.

"It was quite a production. It was really interesting," Hochstedler said early Friday evening, shortly after the crew and host Les Trent had left her Portage Road home in northern St. Joseph County. "I really had to act. It was almost like I was in a studio."

"I'm hoping it will be inspiring to others," she said of the reason she agreed to film the segment, "to let them know that they can do this, that they can protect their homes. And if it comes to it, they can take extreme action."

On Sunday evening, as Hochstedler was hauling firewood from her garage into her home, a man reportedly came running at her from the street and chased her inside.

She grabbed her gun and dialed 911, she said, and after the man burst through her living room window she held him at gunpoint until police arrived, threatening to shoot him dead if he moved.

The story was immediately picked up by local media outlets, and soon, the national media came calling as well.

Besides Inside Edition, Hochstedler said she has been contacted by ABC News, Good Morning America, and the Fox News morning show Fox and Friends.

Although flattered, Hochstedler said she is still a bit baffled by all of the attention.

"It takes my breath away," she said her newfound celebrity, "because I'm like, 'What? How did it get national attention? What is the big deal about? Doesn't everyone try to protect their home?'æ"

Hochstedler said she has been slow in responding to some requests for interviews because she was only released from the hospital on Thursday. She was taken there Sunday evening after complaining of chest pains.

"By the time I was done being a tough woman and yelling at (the intruder) like I wasn't afraid, I sat down at the dining room table and it just all came out of me," she recalled.

At the hospital, Hochstedler said, doctors informed her she had actually suffered a heart attack and needed to have a cardiac catheter inserted to check for arterial blockage.

"I was resisting having it," she said of the procedure, explaining that she doesn't normally require a lot of "doctoring," "but they told me this was life threatening, that part of my heart had already died."

"It was due to shock," she continued. "It happens to people sometimes. That's what they call being scared to death."

Now that she's feeling better, Hochstedler said she wants to help others. As vice president of the German Township Neighborhood Association, she said she'd like to organize seminars to educate her neighbors on how to better secure their homes and protect themselves and their families.

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