Elderly woman shot while feeding her cats outside of her home

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An elderly woman is recovering after she was shot by a gunman who attempted to rob her outside of her Carrollwood-area home early Saturday morning.

Neighbor Joe Strigle said he was eating breakfast around 6 a.m. when he heard a loud noise.

“I was just thinking, well I wasn’t thinking it was a gunshot,” he said. "Then all of a sudden, the phone rings.”

It was his 75-year-old neighbor Karen Lynch, who had been screaming for him from across the street.

“She said, 'I’d just been robbed and shot,'” Strigle recalled.

Hillsborough County deputies said the suspect approached Lynch demanding money while she was outside with a tray of cat food feeding her cats.

“The gunman came around the truck. He wanted to rob her at gunpoint, and she told me she only had four dollars, and he said he was going to kill her,” Strigle said.

What Lynch did next caught the would-be robber off-guard 

“She threw the tray at him, and it knocked the gun out of his hand,” Strigle said.

The gun fired, striking Lynch in the leg, and the suspect fled on foot. Lynch was taken to the hospital, and is recovering from her injury.

Strigle said he wasn’t shocked his neighbor took matters into her own hands.

“No with her, I wasn’t shocked,” he said.

The neighbors, who have lived in the area for decades, look out for one another.

“She’s like family, she’s always been family," Strigle said. "Ever since her husband died, she’s been like family.”

Deputies said the suspect, described as a young, tall, thin black male, is still on the run.

“I hope they get him," Strigle said. "I hope they get him."