Alabama

Kids were home alone when gunman broke a window. Their quick thinking ruined his plan

Two Tarrant, Alabama children are being praised for their bravery for calling police after being held at gunpoint by a burglar. One child was able to sneak a cellphone to a hiding place, where he dialed 911.
Two Tarrant, Alabama children are being praised for their bravery for calling police after being held at gunpoint by a burglar. One child was able to sneak a cellphone to a hiding place, where he dialed 911. WBRC Broadcast/Screenshot

A 9-year-old girl was in her home Tuesday morning in Tarrant, Alabama, when she heard her brother begging for his life.

"I saw him pointing the gun at my brother and I got really scared," she told WVTM.

A man with a gun had smashed the window of the children's house while their dad was at work and mom was at the store buying medicine, according to the station.

"I see this guy pointing a gun at me, and I started begging him not to shoot me," her 10-year-old brother told ABC 33/40.

"In my heart, I thought that was the end for both of us," his sister told WVTM.

Police say the man held the two children at gunpoint before forcing them into a bathroom while he ransacked their home, according to WBRC.

But the boy thought fast and made a bold move that ended up causing the burglar's downfall. He grabbed his phone and was able to sneak it in to the bathroom under the gunman's nose.

"My parents don't like me playing on my phone, so I'm kind of an expert hider of my phone, so I knew what to do there," the boy told ABC 33/40.

In fact, his sister got upset with him because she thought he was only using the burglary as an excuse to goof off.

"I was about to yell ... 'Why are you about to play on your phone? We're in this big situation, you should not be playing. You should call the police or something," she told the station.

But that's exactly what he did.

He didn't speak English very well and struggled to tell police what the problem was, but dispatchers were able to find a way.

"As luck would have it there was a lady outside our dispatch office that spoke Spanish that was here. And our dispatcher went and got her,” Tarrant Police Chief Dennis Reno told WBRC.

Police closed in on the house and set up a perimeter while the children hid, according to AL.com. The 26-year-old alleged gunman saw the officers coming and wedged himself into a crawlspace under the home, which is where police caught him two hours later with the help of a police dog.

The rescued kids showed a WVTM reporter how the burglar had even smashed their piggy bank, leaving behind only a few pennies.

Now the man is in custody and is expected to face official charges Wednesday. Reno praised the boy for his bravery and quick thinking in the face of danger.

"This guy breaks in their house. Breaks down their door. Goes into the house. Holds them at gunpoint. For him to be calm enough to grab that cell phone, take it into the bathroom, was quite astonishing," Reno told WBRC. "I don't know if me or you would have known to try and sneak a phone."

For the boy, it was faith that got him through.

"I believe in God, so he gave me some sort of bravery in my heart that made me feel like nothing could stop me right there," he told ABC 33/40.

Do you know what to do if you accidentally dial 911? Do you know what information is crucial in an emergency? Here's what you need to know to get the police, fire or ambulance service you need fast.

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