"Anytime I wake up and no one is shooting at me, I'm off to a good day," says the 82-year-old Marine who had to put up a fight when a stranger took his kindness for a weakness Tuesday evening.
Dean, who doesn't want his last name used, lives in The Villas apartments on Golfside near Bynan Drive in Ypsilanti Township.
And Dean's part-time caregiver says the lock on the apartment building's main door has been broken for weeks, allowing for anyone to enter at any time.
Tuesday evening around 7:15, a man knocked on Dean's door, claiming he needed to call an ambulance for his wife and their phone was dead.
Dean allowed the stranger to come in, and he soon realized it wasn't a phone he wanted.
The man told Dean he wanted money. Dean replied, saying he had come to the wrong place for cash because he didn't have any.
Dean says he pointed out some loose change he had on a table and began to stand up, but that's when the man grabbed him by his shoulders and threw him across a coffee table.
The man began to stomp on Dean, and Dean says he tried to protect his bad heart with one hand while trying to grab the man's ankles with the other.
During the struggle, Dean told the attacker that he was going to shoot him and that's when the man ran out the door.
Dean sustained serious injuries to his arms and will have to have surgery to get a skin graft, but he remains in good spirits.
Investigators with the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office say the suspect is described at a black male, unknown age, 5 feet 10 inches tall. We're told he has a slim build, and he was wearing a black knit cap, either black or dark overalls, or a dark shirt and pants. The suspect also identified himself as "Troy" to Dean before he opened the door.
Anyone with any information is urged to call investigators at 734-994-2911.
7 Action News contacted management for The Villas about the broken lock, and we were told it was being repaired.