A 14-year-old boy is being hailed as a hero after shooting and critically injuring a gunman who broke into his family's home while he was babysitting his siblings.
WGRZ News reports that the incident occured around 4:30 PM while the boy and his siblings, ages 8, 10 and 12, were home alone. Phoenix Police Officer James Holmes told reporters that a woman initially rang the doorbell of the house, but since the children did not recognize her, they did not answer the door. Then, moments later, someone started banging heavily on the door, prompting the boy to run up to his parent's room and get his father's handgun. As the boy returned down the stairs, the intruder, a 37-year-old man, broke down the door and pointed a gun at him. The boy shot and wounded the man, then took his siblings to a neighbor's house until police arrived.
The man's conditon was initially reported as extremely critical, but he is now expected to survive. The woman sought in the case remains at large.
Holmes commended the boy's quick thinking under such harrowing circumstances. "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 famiy... but this young man did exactly what he should have done," he said, according to the Associated Press.
It is not yet clear if the gun was kept locked or whether the boy had had firearms training.
While the family is undoubtely thankful that the children were unharmed, they are still shaken up over the ordeal. "The dad was pretty much out of his mind with distress, officers couldn't even talk to him," Holmes explained. "It's going to take them a while to recover mentally."
A similar episode occurred in Henderson, North Carolina in January, when a 14-year-old boy shot and killed a man who broke into his house while he and his 17-year-old sister were home alone. WRAL News reported that police later arrested another man involved in that incident, while two others escaped from the scene.