(WRCB) - Scary moments in Ooltewah, where Hamilton County deputies were called to an Anne Street address early Thursday morning.

The elderly homeowner's daughter gave deputies permission to force their way into the home.

Inside, they found the 90-year-old man with a handgun.

He fired his gun, thinking he was being robbed.

"Knock, knock, knock on the door, I was showering, and I couldn't get there to open the door," says Cecil McDowell.

When 90-year-old Cecil McDowell heard someone beating on his door at 4:30 in the morning, he thought it was an intruder.

"Boom," McDowell recalls. "Oh my God, you see what happened to that door."

When someone kicked in his door, McDowell grabbed his gun.

"I shot right toward that cedar tree out there by the ramp down at the roots," McDowell says. "I didn't leave it up to hit a house or something. I was going to scare him off."

Little did he know he was scaring off a Hamilton County deputy.

"They didn't know if he'd been a victim of foul play or if he was injured in the home and couldn't get to the door," says Janice Atkinson, spokeswoman for the sheriff's office.

Atkinson says deputies were responding to a life alert call.

"Well this thing I got here, while I was showering it bumped something and that's where they got the call in," McDowell says. "I didn't know it."

McDowell is recovering from a broken hip.

His family was worried and gave the sheriff's office permission to enter.

"The restraint that the deputies used during this whole course certainly averted a serious injury or a death, either to one of them or to Mr. McDowell," says Atkinson.

McDowell, who has a permit for the gun, says he's just glad no one was hurt.

"Nobody got hurt," he says. "I'm thankful for that. I didn't have that gun to look for someone to shoot. I had it for protection."

McDowell was recently the victim of a robbery. He says he was worried the robber, who is soon to be released from jail, returned.