NEWPORT NEWS -- A man who fought back against two home invaders is recounting what happened early Tuesday.
53-year-old Alton Cowins moved to the rooming house on 31st Street in Newport News from New Jersey about a month ago.
He says he was sleeping when the suspects went upstairs to his room and robbed him. He says he had about $12.50 in his wallet.
"I don't know what happened. A rage went over me. I started fighting then saying 'you're not going to get away with this,'" Cowins said.
Police were called to the home where eight people live around 4:45 a.m.
Sgt. Randy Rajkumar told WVEC.com that the victim said the suspects said they had a gun.
"It turns out it was two hollow pipes wrapped in electrical tape and the victim was able to determine it was fake," he said.
"By the grace of God I'm okay," said Cowins "It was very scary to wake up and find two men in your room."
During the scuffle, the victim says one of the suspects attacked him with a hammer.
Sgt. Rajkumar said the victim used the weapon to deter the suspects and injured one of them.
Officers arrived to find the suspect on the floor at the bottom of stairs. He was taken to the hospital to be checked out.
The second suspect ran from the scene with the victim's wallet and a small amount of cash, according to officers on the scene.
There's no indication the victim knew the suspects, he added.
Cowins says his ribs hurt and he has some wounds on his arm, but he's okay.
Anyone with information can call Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.