DGU Of The Day: Don’t Mess With A Man Named Rosko Rock…Ever


Image courtesy Wikipedia

When an angry stranger broke into Rosko Rock’s home in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida and attacked a tenant and her friend, the elderly landlord/homeowner armed himself with a handgun (not shown) and ordered him to leave. Apparently, 39 year-old Dale Reese didn’t think the old guy would actually shoot him. Police say he advanced aggressively toward the homeowner where he learned (a bit late) not to mess with an armed homeowner regardless of age. Just to put things in perspective, Rosko Rock is 81 years old. Clint Eastwood is 83 . . .

From WPTV-West Palm Beach:

Investigators learned that Dale Hendrix Reese, 39, was having domestic problems with his girlfriend. According to police, his girlfriend was visiting a friend on Riverside Drive. However, Reese spotted his girlfriend’s car at the residence and flattened her tire, said investigators.

Police said the owner of the house, Rosko Rock, 81, was confronted by Reese, who wanted to know the location of the girlfriend.

“My neighbor, he’s the kind of guy you don’t mess with,” said Harry Cornelius, who lives next door to Rock.

Investigators said Reese forced his way into the house and began attacking the girlfriend and her friend, who rented a room at the residence from Rock. Rock, according to officers, retrieved his handgun and told Reese to leave.

Police said that Reese aggressively approached Rock, so the 81-year-old man shot Reese.
Officers said they do not expect Reese to survive his wounds.

“I’m sure he did not want to shoot him. He’s not that kind of guy. As far as I’m concerned, he’s a very good neighbor,” said Cornelius.

Seconded. A prudent neighbor with a gun is generally a good neighbor, unless they live upwind from you and like to cook sauerkraut outdoors.

Just like Leroy Brown and ‘Jim,’ you don’t mess around with Rosko Rock. The shooting is under investigation, but Rock isn’t expected to face any charges. Florida respects the sanctity of the home, and no jury will ever convict an elderly homeowner who defends his guests from a crazed home invader. A lesson Dale Reese obviously never learned.


  1. His name was/is actually Rosko?

  2. avatar Another Robert says:

    Kudos to Mr. Rock–hope I’m as willing and able as he when I reach 81. Just out of curiosity–A Jennings .22? Why?

    1. avatar Tile floor says:

      Guess they’re trying to go the opposite route from having $500,000 rifles under the headline

    2. avatar Grumpy in Kali says:

      22s get knocked a lot, but they can do some squirrely nasty things once they enter a body.

      My old Forensics Professor use to tell us the nastiest handgun wounds he ever saw were always 22 Mags. They may enter your shoulder, but will hit bone, make a turn, and proceed through your entire mid-section making friends with multiple organs.

      1. avatar Another Robert says:

        A deputy sheriff told me the same thing–bounce off a rib here, a vertebrae there. But the fatality usually takes awhile. I actually respect all calibers myself–a .22 between the eyes pretty much always beats a .45 in the door post.

      2. avatar JR says:

        Been to .22 induced autopsy…of the one shot kill variety.

        Some interesting stats (and read the WHOLE thing for the full story):


        First Rule: Have a gun.

        Leave the caliber wars for couch commandos.

        1. avatar Andrew says:

          Pff!!! Obviously You’ve never been an Elite Operator (at the mall) Like myself!

          I carry not one but THREE guns, one of which shoots tinier guns.

      3. avatar Rich Grise says:

        “… making friends with multiple organs.”
        With friends like that, who needs enemies? 😉

      4. avatar Hannibal says:

        A .22 will kill you dead in a few hours… and that certainly seems to be the case here. Not the best defensive caliber (since it’s damage tends to be of the organ failure variety rather than shock) but it’s better than a rock.

        1. avatar JR says:

          The ones I have seen did not take a few hours. Nothing like.

      5. avatar neiowa says:

        My dad;s line when I was a kid is that more civilians have been accidently killed by a .22 than have been killed for any reason by all other rounds combined.

        1. avatar Soccerchainsaw says:

          Ah the power of statistics….
          It only stands to reason that the most popular caliber would have the most incidents. The reason the FN5.7 or the BMG .50 isn’t high on the list isn’t their lack of killing potential.

      6. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

        I agree. Not only can a .22lr make you have a very bad day, but it may not even come to that. The vast majority of defensive gun uses do not involve discharging the self-defense firearm, as presentation of the firearm often is sufficient to stop the threat. So the actual caliber is almost made moot.

        I say almost, as a hedge, since clearly there are circumstances where a defender will need to fire and will need maximum so-called “stopping power” from that shot, however one measures that. Still, a .22lr, even out of a compact pistol, is not a cap gun and is not to be trifled with.

    3. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

      “A Jennings .22? Why?”

      So he can shoot people. And it worked.

      1. avatar Michael says:

        + 1

      2. avatar Another Robert says:

        Aha–except that’s not the gun our hero used. In fact, we don’t know what he used . That’s why I wondered about using that particular firearm to illustrate this particular story–but again, just out of curiosity.

    4. avatar Mister Fleas says:

      The .22 do relatively compared to other handgun calibers. See the June, 4 2012 article


  3. avatar Sixpack70 says:

    This is one of those times where being stupid was painful.

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      Yeah. Who says you can’t fix stupid?

      1. avatar WSBS says:

        Mr. Rosko Rock certainly did.

      2. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

        Getting shot can be an effective reset button, or an off switch, whichever is fine.

        1. avatar WRH says:

          The ‘reset’ button never seems to work on morons. The ‘off’ button always does the trick though.

  4. avatar Vhyrus says:

    This man sadly missed his calling in the adult film industry.

    1. avatar Semper Why says:

      Dude is 81. The Golden Age of Porn was 40 years ago.

      Who’s to say he didn’t?

      1. avatar ropingdown says:

        Yep. And he runs a boarding house for younger women, apparently.

        1. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

          The dirty old man idea is not fictional, dirty young men age too.

  5. avatar former water walker says:

    Don’t mess with OLD guys.

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      Old age and treachery beat youth and enthusiasm 2 out of 3 falls.

  6. avatar Rank-Hank says:

    I used to have one of those J-22’s..
    Nice little pocket .22, sold it for 150 bucks a long time ago..

    1. avatar William Burke says:

      I had one as well. Bought it new for a tad over $100, as I recall. What I DON’T recall is how I got rid of it. Private sale? Down a well? Who knows?

      1. avatar James R says:

        boating accident

  7. avatar jwm says:

    Age means sweet phuck all since the invention of gunpowder. A person has to be willing, that’s all.

    Rock had more patience than I would have. Force your way into my home and present a threat to people under my protection. You better be wearing bullet proof undies or have your funeral home on speed dial.

  8. avatar Tommy Knocker says:

    Palm Beach Gardens,…Rosko Rock? Me just have a feeling he is a Brooklyn transplant. If you know what I mean…lol

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      Are you saying that Mr. Reese wasn’t Mr. Rock’s first kill?

  9. avatar cknarf says:

    My little J-22 is so crap most of the time.

    It can tear through a box of mini mags though, without fail. The pin that keeps the extractor in likes to work itself out after about 20-30 rounds.

    1. avatar Another Robert says:

      Had a trotline weight 9mm that did the same thing (Stallard Arms). Happily, the place that I got it from happily took it back in partial trade for a Makarov. 🙂

  10. avatar T says:

    Dale didn’t smell what the Rock was cooking!

  11. avatar RonO. says:

    Rosco Rock? Definitely the the greatest name in the annals of DGU.

  12. avatar Tom W. says:

    Beware the old man who’s too old to fight toe to toe, he will just shoot you. Doesn’t matter if it’s a .22, or Barrett 50, right is right and wrong is well,,,, accepting a lead solution.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      I wonder if he’s one of those guys who owns one gun….

  13. avatar Greg in Allston says:


  14. avatar JR says:

    So, where’s MDA on the misogynistic woman hater crap now? A private citizen with a gun did what the police could not possibly have done. Think that lady would be “ok” now if Rock were not there?

    I simply cannot fathom how feminism squares itself with the disarmament crowd.

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      Radical feminism is ALWAYS the round peg trying to force into the round hole. Why they are feminists (misfits).

    2. avatar WRH says:

      Yeah, you would think most women would be happy to have anything that acted like an equalizer. Especially considering how most criminals go for easy victims.

      I think Shannon Watts would change her tune if she ever found herself in a life-threatening situation(though I don’t want that to happen, to be clear).

  15. avatar Guy From V says:

    I recently acquired a Phoenix Arms HP-22A when I happened to be shopping at a local sporting goods/hardware store and was standing looking at the gun cabinet. The guy behind the counter said “Hey, you see this?” He had just slipped a promo sign behind one that said “$1.00”. Of course I asked what was wrong with it and he said it was brand new, they just get a few free from the manufacturer every few months to do what they want with. I think you can figure out the rest of the story. I have to say its hard not to carry that little mouse gun, I tend to only carry “get the hell off me” guns and don’t care if anyone says how wimpy a .22LR is. I love it, you can shoot it all day (assuming you have enough .22LR ammo) and it is heavy enough so you can pull the trigger as fast as you can and get good groupings with all 10 (or 11) rounds…almost nonexistent recoil.

    Sorry for going off topic a bit, just had to stand up for the wimpy .22 carriers.

  16. avatar AlphaGeek says:

    What, no “Rosko got his roscoe and nailed the rascal” joke? You’re slipping, TTAG…

  17. avatar JaxD says:

    Give this guy the Walther .22.

  18. avatar Robb says:

    A +100E10 for a Jim Croce reference. Always.

    1. avatar Pulatso says:

      Except in both songs he referenced, the supposedly toughest guy around was taken down by someone else. Rosko isn’t Leroy or Jim, he was the jealous husband or Slim.

  19. avatar Ralph says:

    He bad, bad Rosko Rock, baddest man on the whole damn block.

    1. avatar Another Robert says:

      Can’t stop laughing!!!

  20. avatar freezercharlie says:

    I don’t see the gun or caliber anywhere in the article or video. Did he use a .22lr?

  21. avatar peirsonb says:

    Charged at a guy pointing a gun at him and assumed he wouldn’t get shot….turns out Darwin was right.

  22. avatar Malcolm says:

    Here in the detroit area last night, an 82 year old man successfully defended his home and his mother against 2 home invaders with a few well placed blows to the head with a hammer.


  23. avatar Don says:

    I always think of the J-22 when people say that “guns don’t just go off”. Maybe not any more they don’t!

    1. avatar Another Robert says:

      Wasn’t there a late-WWII Japanese pistol that was so poorly designed/manufactured that it could pretty much spontaneously discharge?

      1. avatar Don says:

        Yes, the Type 94 Nambu I think.

        1. avatar Another Robert says:

          Thanks for the reply. Found a nice little article on it with vid showing how it can fire while holstered:

  24. avatar Soccerchainsaw says:

    What’s wrong with saerkraut? I like the stuff, it makes cabbage more, well, edible…

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