Vietnam veteran plays dead to survive home invasion

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A Vietnam War veteran had to play dead to survive when he was attacked in his own home.

Samuel Joseph was attacked in his apartment in the 2700 block of Vineyards Drive just after midnight on December 17. Police said when they arrived at a neighboring apartment, they found the 69-year-old ‘bleeding profusely from his mouth and nose’ after being assaulted. 

Police said in a report that Joseph was unable to speak and was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital where he was treated for his injuries.

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Joseph's grandson Darryel LaGrone told police his grandfather was also robbed in his home.

"I usually go check on my grandad every other night," LaGrone told 11Alive. “When I got to the apartment I looked through the window and saw things have been moved around."

LaGrone told police, according to the report, that he noticed items missing from his grandfather’s home including a 50-inch TV, a sound system and laptop. He also told police Joseph's cell phone and wallet were stolen too.

When police spoke to Joseph in the hospital he said the suspect crawled through a bedroom window while he was sleeping and began to choke him. Joseph told police he ‘had to fight for his life’ and eventually played dead in hopes his attacker would stop.

"He had to play dead. He saw death in the attacker’s eyes,” LaGrone said. “After he got beat so bad, he just played dead. If he didn't play dead, he'd probably be dead."

LaGrone said when he visited his grandfather that night, he saw blood all over the carpet and floor. 

Joseph said in the report once his attacker left, he went to his neighbor’s apartment for help.

"It was kind of unbearable to see your grandfather in that condition," LaGrone said. "I couldn't imagine him going as far as trying to kill him."

The family believes they know who the suspect is and Atlanta police are waiting for Joseph to identify him in a lineup.

A GoFundMe account has been established to help the family meet their medical expenses. Click here for information on how to donate.