DGU Files: A New Mexico Grandmother Fights Off a Career Criminal

It’s easy to assume that you’re safe at home. After all, you’ve got a locked door with a deadbolt, right? Many people put their gun away when they’re at home, even if they normally carry it just about everywhere else they go. A recent story out of Albuquerque shows us that might not be the best idea (among several other lessons).

When hanging out with her granddaughter, Anissa Tinnon was shocked to suddenly see a stranger enter her home. The man, a career criminal who had been running from the police, had his car disabled by spike strips.

Joseph Rivera, 32, then took off on foot, hopping fences to evade the authorities. When he got into her yard, he was somehow able to walk right into her home. He then demanded Tinnon’s car keys, threatening to harm her granddaughter if she refused.

While looking for her keys, she managed to get a 911 call started without him noticing, and left the line open. That made it possible for authorities to figure out that she needed help. In the meantime, she tried to convince him to take something valuable and leave. Eventually, he left with her car keys and she started trying to calm her granddaughter down.

She then got her gun and checked to see if the home invader had actually left the property. Due to a heavy police presence, he hadn’t. He then decided to come back inside to hide from the police, kicking in the door when he found that Tinnon had locked it behind him.

The grandmother ordered him to leave, but he refuses and tried to attack her. That’s when she shot him. You can audibly hear his screams on the 911 audio.

“Why did you shoot me?” he asked.

“Because you’re in my f***ing house!” she screamed back at him. In true grandmotherly fashion, Tinnon offered the wounded man a drink of water. “I will give you water, but if you f****** hurt me, I’m going to shoot you again.”

She then turned to rendering first aid, and apparently felt genuinely bad for shooting Rivera. Police finally arrived and took the home invader away.


The obvious one: have your gun handy…and home carry if at all possible. Putting a gun away somewhere at home won’t do you much good if you can’t readily access it to defend yourself. Tinnon made some smart moves without the gun, but once it was in her hand, she was finally able to end the situation caused by a multiple felon, catch-and-release criminal.

Another key thing we should all do: keep our doors secure. The most obvious part of this is locking the door, but other things like switching out builder grade screws for longer, more secure ones and adding anti-break film to any exterior glass can stop or slow criminals, or at the very least slow them down giving you more time to respond.

Finally, it’s a good idea to plan ahead and not tell 911 operators too much. The sad reality is that even when someone breaks into your home, there are some unscrupulous and agenda-driven prosecutors who will try to prosecute you, even in a clear case of self-defense.

Tinnon was obviously in an emotional situation, but if those emotions lead you to apologize or say anything else that makes it sound like the shooting wasn’t necessary, it could potentially land you in a heap of trouble later.

Two more tips: once police arrive, tell them as little as possible. Let them know you’re happy to cooperate once you’ve talked to your lawyer. Also, never talk to the media. Ever. Even if you’re out of criminal jeopardy, the victim or his family can sue you in civil court and use what you’ve said on camera against you. There simply is no upside in talking to the media after a defensive gun use. Period.

3 Responses

  1. “In true grandmotherly fashion…”

    That’s funny. Her nature is to nurture, but don’t f*** with her!

  2. Do not render aid; don’t even talk with the person you had to shoot a moment ago. Call 911 and request LE and EMS to your location. Then tell the operator on the line you will want to press charges against your assailant if he survives.

    No water. The EMS professionals will have an IV readily available if your attacker isn’t yet room temperature once LE permits them entrance to the scene.

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