Mar 10, 2010 11:12 AM by Mike Celizic
There is no mistaking the terror in the boy's voice. On the 911 recording, you can feel it like a physical object.
"They come. They come. They open and ring the door. They have guns. Can you come, really fast? And bring soldiers, too," the unidentified 7-year-old says in 911 tapes played on TODAY Wednesday. He gasps for breath after each burst of words, his voice filled with urgency.
"They" were three men who had forced their way Tuesday morning into a home in Norwalk, Calif., a town in suburban Los Angeles. While the men held the boy's mother and father at gunpoint, the boy and his 6-year-old sister hid in a bathroom and called 911.
Although clearly terrified, the boy stays on the line and concisely answers the female dispatcher's questions.
"Where are you in the house?" she asks.
"Inside the bathroom," he says.
"Who's with you?"
"How old is she?"
"Six years old," the boy answers, panting audibly with anxiety. "Can you come really fast? Hurry up."
Outside, the three men, all described by KTLA-TV as being 200 pounds or more, threatened the boy's parents and announced their intention to burglarize the house.
As Los Angeles sheriff's deputies rushed to the home, the dispatcher attempted to get more information.
"Stay on the line with me. Don't hang up," she told the boy. "Listen to me. We're coming to help you. But just listen to me, OK?"
"OK," the boy replies.
"When you were in the house, tell me exactly what happened, OK? Just stay where you are and don't hang up whatever you do," the dispatcher continues.
The boy started to respond, saying, "OK. The guys, they have ..."
At that point, blood-curdling screams fill the tape. The home invaders had heard his voice and had broken into the bathroom. Deputies said one of the suspects grabbed the boy and asked who he called.
"911," the boy said.
When the suspects heard that, they fled the house, driving away in a car without taking anything or harming anyone, deputies said.
"If not for the brave and educated actions of the 7-year-old boy, this might have ended tragically," said sheriff's Capt. Pat Maxwell.
The three men remain at large.