Girl loads rifle to spook burglar
11-year-old ready to defend herself
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - When three teenage burglars pried open the door of a northwest Albuquerque home they had no idea they would be met by a brave little girl, police said Wednesday.
Alyssa Gutierrez, 11, took matters into her own hands Tuesday when police said when Miguel Marquez, Eduardo Zubiate and Jesus Quintana broke into her home.
Gutierrez armed herself with a loaded rifle.
"I was planning, if they came right next to me, I would shoot them," Gutierrez said.
But Gutierrez, who will start sixth grade next week, never got the chance because she'd spooked the burglars.
Gutierrez said her cousins went to run an errand around the corner from their home and were gone for a few minutes when she heard the backdoor rattle.
"I thought it was (my cousin) Zachary playing a joke on me so I just turned the TV louder and ignored it," Gutierrez said.
But on the other side of the door were the burglars who pried open the door with a crowbar. Gutierrez believes that they'd seen her cousins leave and chose to break into the home when they thought no one was there.
She said when the Marquez, Zubiate and Quintana got inside, she heard them talk about stealing guns in the home. Gutierrez and her family told KRQE News 13 that they knew one of the suspects and believed the group targeted the home to steal their guns.
"My heart kept on pounding and pounding," Gutierrez said.
She said she slid to the floor from the couch when she saw the trio, but quickly decided that hiding wouldn't do her any good because the masked intruders had seen her.
"They had a rifle so I was thinking, 'What should I do? 'What if they shoot me?'" Gutierrez said.
That's when she made a beeline for her mother's room.
"I ran back into my mom's room and grabbed her little pink rifle, and there was two bullets in there," she said.
With the loaded rifle, Gutierrez said she checked the bathroom and then the living room ready to defend herself.
She said she ran to her mother's closet and called 911.
But while Gutierrez protected her home, she had no idea the suspects had jumped the fence and that an off-duty APD officer driving passed her home had spotted them.
Police arrested the three teens and their alleged getaway driver, Abraham Bustillos, minutes after the break-in.
Gutierrez said she feels lucky because just a few days ago she had learned how to shoot a rifle.
"I felt proud of myself," Gutierrez said.
And she should be proud! More and more people these days, especially young people, have taken a frighteningly passive approach to their own preparedness - physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. I often hear "someone else will protect me", "that's what the cops are for", and of course my favorite "that won't ever happen to me." But it happened to this young girl, and instead of becoming another statistic, she had the mindset and the determination to come out of the fight on top. She kept her wits, analyzed her situation, and most importantly, she had a plan of action. Was she trained heavily in firearms and tactics? No - but she clearly has already chosen a ready mindset for her life.
There is no age requirement for you to begin teaching your kids about the ready mindset. How they should react to emergencies, how to stay calm, and to deal with certain situations are just a few of the topics that you can cover. Make a family night out of it - once a month, or more often, come up with scenarios to run your family through. Maybe it's a house fire or a gas leak, maybe it's a home invader or a natural disaster, or maybe it's even a medical emergency. Make it a fun activity but serious enough that it's effective training. Now repeat that training often enough to keep everyone fresh on the information or any changes in procedure. They may not find themselves in those exact situations, but teaching them ready mindset will help your family to react to any emergency, no matter where they are or what is happening.
Another angle to look at this story from is that in certain states, this brave young girl having access to firearms would be illegal. Is it legal in your state? You need to find out - and if it's not, you need to vote differently. What if this rifle had been locked up? Could she have run for it? Maybe. Would the intruders not have harmed her? Maybe. But what if she was your daughter - do you want to take that risk? I want my children, and my wife, and my friends, and my family to all be ready and able to respond to an incident like this, and I do everything I can do to transfer my training and my skills over to them. Because you may not always be there to save the day, and remember: when seconds count, the police are just minutes away.
Stay Aware, Stay Safe, and Train Hard.