Police: Tennessee home invader beaten by 52-year-old woman armed with baseball bat

Posted at 6:27 PM, May 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-03 06:34:17-04

A brave Tennessee woman used a baseball bat to defend herself and two others against a much bigger and younger home invader that was armed with a gun.

According to a news release from the Kingsport Police Department, on April 29 officers responded to what they described as a “home invasion that had apparently gone horribly wrong for the suspect.”

Police said the 52-year-old woman answered a knock at her door to find another woman holding a flyer about a lost dog.

However, as soon as she opened the door, a masked man stepped into the doorway, grabbed her arm and attempted to pull her outside.

The masked man then pushed the resident back inside the home and shouted, “This is a robbery!”

A struggle ensued, and the resident was able to partially remove the mask from the suspect’s face and recognized the man as Joe M. Sotello, 34, a longtime family friend.

She also noticed what appeared to be a handgun tucked in Sotello’s waistband.  Police said the woman was able to grab a nearby baseball bat and fought back.

Two 18-year-old female witnesses were inside the home during the attack and joined in to help the woman fight off Sotello.

Investigators said the three women drove Sotello out of the house and onto the front lawn.

The woman who had been holding the flyer, who police later determined to be Sotello’s girlfriend, fled the scene in a car.

Officers said Sotello attempted to get into the car with her, but he could not escape the three women who continued to attack him.

Sotello’s girlfriend escaped in the car, and Sotello was eventually able to run away.

When officers arrived at the home, they discovered that Sotello had been spotted at a home of one of the victim’s relatives.

Police said he had to be transported to a hospital for treatment before later being taken to the Kingsport City Jail where he faces charges of aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary.

Investigators said Sotello confessed to the home invasion and said “had been going through some hard times.”

His girlfriend also confessed to her involvement and claimed to police that she had been done it out of fear and did not know her boyfriend’s plan.  Police said at this time she has not been charged.

Police also noted in their written statement that the 52-year-old who defended herself was “only 4 feet 11 inches tall, one entire foot shorter than her attacker and weighed nearly 100 pounds less than her him. At 52 years old, she was also 18 years older than him. Yet, despite being at a clear physical disadvantage, she successfully defended herself and her home from Mr. Sotello’s unprovoked attack.”