msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 7/18/2011 6:32:09 PM ET 2011-07-18T22:32:09

An eight-term congressman from Iowa helped fight off an armed man who invaded his farm house in Decatur County and attacked his daughter on Saturday night, according to a statement from his office.

The attack occurred around 10:45 p.m. on Saturday at a farm in Lamoni, where Rep. Leonard Boswell, a 77-year-old Democrat who represents Iowa's third congressional district, was spending the weekend with his wife, Dody, 77, daughter, Cynthia Brown, and grandson, Mitchell Brown, 22.

"The intruder entered the front door of the farm house and physically assaulted Cindy while demanding money at gunpoint," read the statement from Boswell's office.

After hearing his daughter's screams, the congressman "entered the walkway of their house and immediately went for the guy's gun and was wrestling with him. They were both on the ground," Boswell's chief of staff Grant Woodard told local news station KCCI.

Image: Leonard Boswell
Charlie Neibergall  /  AP file
Rep. Leonard Boswell, D-Iowa, helped fight off an invader at his farm house on Saturday night.

While the two scuffled, Boswell's grandson Mitchell grabbed a loaded .12-gauge shotgun from a nearby room and confronted the intruder, who then fled into the surrounding field and reportedly was still on the run.

"That was my daughter. This guy had his hand on her throat and a gun to her face. If he was going to shoot somebody, I preferred that he shoot me," Boswell said in an interview with easterniowagovernment.com.

Boswell praised his entire family for their "grit" and "determination" in fighting off the attacker.

"The congressman just did what anybody would do if he knew his family was in trouble," said Woodard. "He jumped right into the situation and helped his daughter."

Boswell lives in Des Moines and owns the farm in southern Iowa. He is recovering from a broken rib suffered during the incident.

"I wanted a piece of him. He was threatening somebody I care for very much," Boswell told reporters at a Statehouse news conference, according to easterniowagovernment.com.

The Decatur County Sheriff's Department and state and federal authorities are investigating. The sheriff's department said Saturday that the intruder had not been caught. The attacker is still at large.

Decatur County Sheriff Herbert Muir said "we might" have a suspect in mind. "We have a direction we're going," Muir said, according to easterniowagovernment.com.

"The congressman says the military is the best training for situations like this," said Woodard, referring to Boswell's 20-year military career. "It's a wakeup call to everybody to take precautions and do what they need to do to keep their family safe."

Reuters contributed to this report.

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