Elkton, MD – A 70-year-old retired law enforcement and fire department official fought off two would-be robbers Aug. 21 with the help of his dog who scared off the suspects.
But Joseph Zurolo Sr. says he isn’t a typical retired person.
He started his career with the Elkton Police Department and then worked for the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office after suffering an injury.
Zurolo was elected to the Hartford-Cecil County Fireman’s Association Hall of Fame in 2017 and is a widely known first-responder, according to the Cecil Whig.
Zurolo keeps a “Blue Lives Matter” bumper sticker on his front door and a blue light in his window with an American flag over the front steps, according to WMAR-TV.
He’s probably not the best target for a robbery.
"You ain't messing with some retired cop. I've got news for you," Zurolo said, according to WMAR.
In a Facebook post, Zurolo said he was watching the TV show Blue Bloods when there was a knock at his door. He got up and there was a 20-something man who said he wanted money and drugs.
The man pushed his way into Zurolo’s house and ripped Zurolo’s shirt in the process.
Zurolo punched the robber in the face a couple time and then a second man showed up and started attacking Zurolo.
The men began banging Zurolo’s head into the door, he wrote.
“I thought for sure they were going to kill me,” Zurolo wrote.
That’s when Max, Zurolo’s 11-year-old dog, came to the rescue.
“He barked so loud that the two guys fled without taking anything,” Zurolo wrote. “Max saved my life.”
"He's got a bark on him that would scare anybody to death,” said Zurolo, according to WMAR. "I've raised him from a puppy. He's very protective of me. He's my true hero in this."
Zurolo said he went to the emergency room the next morning. Doctors said he suffered a mild concussion and gave him medication.
On his Facebook account, Zurolo said the pain got worse the next day and he took an ambulance back to the hospital. He received more treatment, which he said helped.
And he said he gave Max a steak for saving his life.
“He enjoyed it,” Zurolo wrote. “That’s the least I can do for him.”
Zurolo’s nephew is a captain with the Elkton Police Department and shares the same name as his 70-year-old uncle.
“My uncle's is retired law enforcement for 35 years,” Captain Joseph Zurolo told WMAR. “It's not in his makeup to yield. His law enforcement training, knowledge and experience kicked in. I'm sure he held his own even for a 70-year-old gentleman."
Police are looking for the two suspects.
You can see video of Zurolo describe the attack below: