Elderly couple held hostage for hours in FL

Posted at 11:47 PM, Jul 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-22 23:47:29-04

TAMARAC, FL (WPLG/CNN) - Irene Rosen and her 99-year-old husband, Louis, are still reliving the nightmare that played out Friday as they were held hostage inside their own home.

The couple was sitting on the back porch when Broward Sheriff’s detectives say Leonard Benitez approached them, saying he was staying at a home nearby and asked for salt to cook with. After the Rosens obliged, Benitez began acting erratically, pulled out a gun and a knife and demanded $50,000.

The Rosens said they feared for their lives.

“It was a harrowing experience. Let’s put it that way,” Louis Rosen said. "I was worried about her more than I was worried about myself."

The couple didn’t want to elaborate on all of what transpired, but after hours of being held hostage, Irene, who is much more mobile than her husband, was able to run out of the house to get help.

Louis was still inside.

“That was the only time,” Irene said of her escape. “I was frantic. I was all the way down the block and I was worried about him.

At some point, Louis was pistol-whipped in the head. Then, Benitez ran back a few doors down to where he was staying. The 99-year-old was left with staples in his head, but alive.

A SWAT team finally was able to take Benitez into custody.

“I try to think of it positively and say, ‘What an adventure we had,’” Louise Rosen said. “It’s an adventure I could have done without.”

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