According to The Associated Press, a 14-year-old Phoenix boy shot an armed intruder who broke into his home at approximately 4:30 p.m. Saturday, June 23. At that time, the boy was babysitting his younger siblings, ages eight, 12 and 12.
The incident started with a woman ringing the doorbell to the residence. Since the boy didn’t recognize the woman, he refused to open the door.
A short time later, the boy heard a loud bang, which he correctly assumed was someone attempting to force entry through the door. The boy gathered his siblings and hurried them upstairs as he armed himself with a handgun from his parent’s bedroom.
From the top of the stairs, the boy saw a man break open the front door. When the man pointed a gun at the boy, the boy shot the man. The man did not fire his weapon.
The man was subsequently transported to a local hospital in extremely critical condition. Since the shooting, the man’s status has been upgraded to critical and he is expected to survive. The man, whose identity has been withheld, can look forward to being booked into jail on charges of aggravated assault and burglary. The woman who rang the doorbell remains at large.
Phoenix Police Officer James Holmes praised the boy’s actions and his parents for teaching the boy not to open the door to a stranger.
“The police and indeed our community does not ever want to see a situation where a teenager of that age has to take a weapon to protect his family … but this young man did exactly what he should have done,” Holmes said. “I’m not sure he gave full thought about what he had to do. He just acted.”
Holmes summed up the incident by saying, “As ugly as this is, and as much as this family is going through, we don’t have injured children on our hands.”
Obviously, this investigation is ongoing.
“This was mid-block in a neighborhood, at 4:30 in the afternoon and children are there. They took a heck of a gamble for this particular house, and we’ve got to try to figure out why,” said Holmes.
Without question, the 14-year-old boy in this story acted not only appropriately. but heroically. I’m not sure how many trained adults would have responded as well to this terrifying ordeal.
The boy was smart to not open the door when the woman rang the doorbell, but that was a decision made under a relatively low degree of stress. Most parents would expect their 14-year-old child to make that decision.
Where this kid’s grace under pressure took center stage is when he realized someone was trying to break through the front door. The boy first thought of protecting his younger siblings and did so by moving them upstairs, away from the threat. Next, the boy retrieved a handgun from his parent’s room, and when faced with a deadly threat, used the handgun appropriately to stop that threat. It’s not clear whether this very brave 14-year-old was relying purely in instinct or if he had received training. Either way, his actions saved the day.
Thank God this young man had access to a handgun and knew how to use it! What would happen if this had been your house?