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He survived a violent mugging, but now 80-year-old Lester Campbell faces criminal charges for defending himself with an unlicensed gun.

The frail octogenarian told WABC-TV he relies on the .38-caliber pistol given to him by his mother for protection when he cashes his Social Security checks.

After cashing his latest check, Campbell pocketed the $262 and went to the supermarket in his Bronx neighborhood in New York. A mugger apparently spotted Campbell’s wad, followed him home to his apartment building and then jumped him inside the elevator.

A fierce struggle ensued, reports the news station, during which the assailant ripped Campbell’s pants to snatch the wallet.

The gun went off, sending the bullet ricocheting into the ceiling.

“He tried to keep the barrel away from him, twisting and turning,” Campell told WABC. “And when I was going to pull it, see, I lose some grip. And that’s when he started twisting and twisting.”

When the elevator car stopped at the third floor, the attacker fled with Campbell’s money, leaving him bruised and bloodshot.

Police officers arrived on the scene some time later, confiscated Campbell’s pistol and another gun from inside his apartment and arrested him. He’s due to appear in court next month on charges of misdemeanor criminal possession of a weapon.

Campbell complains the wrong man is getting punished.

“He had no business doing that. I was minding my business. I don’t bother nobody,” WABC quotes him as saying.

Campbell’s neighbors had mixed reaction to the incident.

“The way I feel, if he didn’t have the gun probably something would happen to him, serious,” said Ernest McKenzie. “And at the same time, he has to be licensed.”

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