The resident, Kathryn Johnston--88 years old by some accounts, 92 years old by others--pulled a pistol on the intruders. The police fired on their assailant.Let's look at that, shall we?
asˈsailant nounLast I checked, Kathryn wasn't attacking anybody. She was sitting in her house, minding her own damned business, when her assailants burst through her door.
a person who attacks
Defense. Attack. There's a difference, and it's an important one, but it's apparently a little elusive to Mr. Perlstein, who won't let things like the truth deter him from his editorial goal.
(H/T to SayUncle.)