According to the US Department of Justice, between 2003 and 2007, an estimated 3.7 million household burglaries occurred per year— and that number is utterly terrifying. Your home is supposed to be your safe place, and having it invaded by a dangerous stranger causes psychological trauma that can remain for years.
In about 28% of burglaries, not only is the home invaded, but a family member is actually present to come in contact with the assailant. Sadly, in about 7% of these cases, the family member is injured as a result of the encounter.
One family in Norwalk, California, found themselves in this type of situation. As the parents and children were getting ready for the day, assailants with guns burst through their front door.
The bright morning quickly turned dark for the Norwalk family as the men threatened them with their weapons, marching through the home and intimidating them with fear.
Luckily, upon their entrance, the oldest child, a 7-year-old boy named Carlos had managed to grab his little sister. He brought her into a bathroom to hide, unbeknownst to the intruders.
Carlos’s mother had made a point of teaching the boy what to do in an emergency situation, and he knew he had to call 911. Monique Patino, a dispatcher with the LA County Sheriff’s Department, was the person who picked up the line.
In the heartbreaking 911 call made by Carlos, the 7-year-old boy tells Monique that two men have entered his house to shoot his mom and dad.
“Can you come really fast? Please, please?!”
“Bring soldiers, too!” he begs her.
As a dispatcher, Monique deals with trauma on the daily; however, she told CNN, this call was particularly chilling. “I was really shaken up,” she said.
Monique stays on the line, trying to keep Carlos calm until the police can get there, but before they arrive, Carlos tells Monique a man is there— and the two children immediately start screaming.
“Once I heard the screams towards the end, I mean, honestly, I’m holding the phone and I’m in tears.”
“I can barely talk, I’m shaking, I’m in in tears, because all I can hear is them screaming.”
The intruders had realized someone was hiding in the bathroom. When they knocked the door down and saw Carlos talking on the phone, they demanded to know who he was speaking with.
With the innocence of a 7-year-old (or maybe the wisdom of a 70-year-old), Carlos decided to reply with honesty, telling the men he was talking to 911. Although this could have made the intruders hurt the young boy, something amazing happened instead.
Hearing Carlos’s honest answer, the two men immediately fled from the family’s home— leaving every person completely unharmed.
Since saving his family from the possibility of death, 7-year-old Carlos has been proclaimed a hero. When asked if he was scared, the boy shrugged and grinned. “Just a little bit,” he said.
Since the incident that introduced them, Carlos and Martina have now become close friends.
As Randi Kaye described, “a stranger on the other end of the phone line who, in just moments, became a friend.”
I’d just like to give a shout-out to Carlos’s mother for teaching the boy what do in emergency situations. Too often, when encountered with this kind of stress, the fear and anxiety can make a kid’s mind go blank— that’s why repetitive drills, like Carlos’s mom practiced, are so important to do!
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