Seven-year-old hero saves his family

Carlos, a 7-year-old boy who called 911 during a home invasion robbery as armed robbers threatened his parents poses with the dispatcher, Monique Patino, who took his call at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s dispatch centre on Wednesday in Norwalk, Calif.

911 Emergency Service operators are used to getting calls from terrified people. But when operator Monique Patino in Norwalk, California, received a call from a panic-stricken 7-year-old boy whose family was being attacked by three armed robbers it was the start of an “unbearable” ordeal for her.

This is a transcript of the 911 call by the boy, identified only as Carlos, released by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department:

Carlos: Can you come really fast? Please, please!

Operator: Can you tell me what happened?

Carlos: (Breathing heavily) They come, they open, ring the door, and they have guns, they shoot my mom and dad!

Operator: Right now?

Carlos: (Younger sister can be heard whimpering in the background) Yes, can you come really fast? Bring some cops, um…

Operator: Ok, I have them coming…

Carlos: A lot of them! The guys they have… (screams as the robbers enter the bathroom)

According to Captain Patrick Maxwell of the Sheriff’s Department, at that point “The door was forced open and the phone was taken from Carlos, and you can hear the screaming.” When the intruders realised Carlos had called the police, they fled, leaving Carlos and his parents unharmed. The three suspects are still at large.

At an interaction with the press later, Ms. Patino said, wiping away tears, “I still hear his little voice on the phone. Just hearing them screaming and crying for help, I just felt the fear through the phone.”

But Carlos had singlehandedly saved his family. With unusual presence of mind for a seven-year-old, he had grabbed his six-year old sister, locked them both in the bathroom and immediately dialled 911.

Carlos, who also made an appearance before the press, said, “[The intruders] were next to the door, with my mom and dad, and [my mom and dad] were putting their hands up and their heads down.” He said his mom taught him what to do in an emergency, and “to practice it everyday.”

When asked if he was scared, he said, “Just a little bit.” Ms. Patino added, “He was very brave, I am very proud of what he did, and he’s my little hero.” When asked about the screaming Carlos underscored his heroic credentials, saying, “It was my sister!”

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