The doorbell kept ringing.
Mary Ann Brown, 72, and her husband Elmer, 73, who were napping in their family room as an episode of “Criminal Minds” played on TV, got up to see who it was.
The trip to the front door wasn’t an easy one for Elmer. The retired police officer suffers from diabetes, is legally blind, and has a bad foot.
“It was ringing and ringing and stupid me opened the door,” Mary Ann said.
Two men with hooded sweatshirts drawn tight around their faces burst inside. One of the men shot Elmer in the neck after the two inquired about a safe in the home.
The nightmare played out late Monday night at the couple’s home on 115th Street, less than five blocks from the Indiana state line.
The men pushed Mary Ann onto stairs leading to the couple’s bedroom and ran past her.
“They ransacked the place. They seemed to know what they were doing,” said Mary Ann, who sat on the stairs as the men searched her home. “I had my head down because I was ordered to,” she said.
Her husband lay bleeding near the door, silent, as the men shouted at Mary Ann. “They were very nasty: ‘Where’s your money and stuff like that,’” she said.
Ten minutes elapsed before the men ran out the house, seemingly empty-handed. “Elmer had passed out,” said Mary Ann, who dialed 911. He was in stable but critical condition at Advocate Christ Medical Center Tuesday afternoon. Mary Ann was unharmed and angry.
“I’m OK, just a little pissed . . . how the hell could I be this stupid?”
She said her husband was a well-liked police sergeant who served 38 years before retiring about 15 years ago.
“Everybody admired him because he was what you would consider a ‘top cop,’” she said. “Even though he’s retired, he still maintained his name as being one of the best Chicago Police officers.”
Elmer’s two sons were headed in from out of town to be with their parents, Mary Ann said.
Contributing: Jordan Owen