‘Sweet Lady': Neighbors Horrified After Attack on 69-Year-Old Woman

One neighbor said he saw the son prior to the attack he appeared to be acting "strange"

Residents of a Mira Mesa neighborhood are disturbed after a 69-year-old woman was struck by a copper pipe more than 30 times in the head.

The incident happened around 7 p.m. Thursday.

According to San Diego police, the victim returned to her home on Capcano Road and found her 36-year-old son in the front yard. He used a hose to squirt water on her and she told him to take his medication.

That's when the son began beating her with two copper pipes, police said. 

The woman ran inside to call 911 but her son took her mobile phone away, police said. He then struck his mother 25 more times in the head and left the home, according to police.

The woman was able to call for help using a house phone and was taken to a local hospital with life threatening injuries.

According to many neighbors, she had lived in the home for more than 30 years.

"She is a very sweet lady, is quiet. She had a cat," said Ada Dunn, a close friend, and neighbor of the victim.

Neighbor William Watson told NBC 7 that he saw the woman's son in the afternoon before the attack.

"He seemed strange. He was pacing around. First I saw him with a guitar, then he came back out doing some nunchuck, ninja thing with sticks," Watson said.

"She wouldn't have been able to control him at all if he really went off," neighbor David Copeland said.

Police arrested Theodore Guenther at a nearby park and booked him on charges of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon with force likely to cause great bodily injury.

He was on probation for an unrelated crime.

"I hate to see something like that happen. I'm totally surprised to hear that in this quiet neighborhood," Watson said.

Guenther was held without bail and due in court Friday.

Ed. Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the woman's age as 81-years-old. We have since learned she is 69-years-old. The article has been corrected.

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