12-year-old big brother protects siblings from armed intruder

VANCOUVER, WAS (KGW) A Vancouver, Washington family has been living in a single hotel room since Friday. They expect to be there for at least a week. They’re in a hotel because home is a crime scene.

“I don’t really want to go back there,” says 12-year-old Mazzeo Sanchez. “I get headaches. It plays over in my head a lot.”

The oldest of four kids, Mazzeo also doesn’t want his siblings to have to return home. He went back a few days ago, and saw a blood stain on the carpet. The intruder died in the kids’ bedroom.

“I don’t want them to remember that they lived where somebody got shot,” he says.

The ordeal happened early Friday morning at the Spring Meadows apartment complex. Police were chasing a man who stole a car and crashed it at a nearby senior center.

Around 6:30 a.m., Mazzeo heard someone walk in. He thought it was his dad.

“Then I hear walking, and I hear, like, heavy breathing,” he says. “He looked like he got into a fight. He had dirt all over his face.”

Mazzeo ran and got his sister & brothers. They’re 8, 6 and 5 years old. He gave them iPads and explained they had to hide.

As the kids made their way into the bedroom, Mazzeo said the man looked up. They made eye contact.

“He walks towards me, and then I say ‘No, no, no.’ He just walks out of the room,” he said.

Minutes later, police were in the apartment. The kids heard the whole thing.

“I hear 4 shots. ‘One, two, three, four!’ And then his body drops,” said Mazzeo.


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