NORTH VALLEY STREAM, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) –Police say what started as a home invasion ended with one of the thieves taking his own life, after a shootout with police.
The family on Dana Avenue was targeted, police say, because they run two legitimate cash businesses. Last night, intruders with guns, burst in and tied up at least three people. Inside was an adult female, male and four children.
The homeowner’s brother, who was driving up to the house and on the phone, saw a man with a gun on the driveway. He called 911, but was ushered inside and held hostage as police responded.
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As one of the robbers rummaged through a back bedroom, police say one of the officers kicked in a door and led the residents inside to safety, including four children.
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“He kicks the rear door and he leads family to safety and then goes back into the house to confront the subjects. It was an extraordinary brave act,” Deputy Inspector Kenneth Lack told CBS 2’s John Slattery.
That’s when gunfire was exchanged by the thieves and police — some 20 shots. One suspect was arrested.
“We heard some gunshots and we basically took cover. My kids were here, they were crying, we were all scared and didn’t know what was going on,” neighbor Brenda Cabrera said.
The officer, who saved the family, was not identified by police, but praised by neighbors.
“I think that’s amazing and I said to my husband that’s one thing you can rely on in this neighborhood and that’s the police,” neighbor Gail Gonzalez said.
The incident has the neighborhood on edge.
“It makes you think now that, you know, anything can go down in this neighborhood now. So, you gotta take a little extra precaution to protect your family,” said one man.
The search is continuing for other suspects who fled the scene.
None of the victims of the home invasion were injured by the gunfire, however, several officers were treated for psychological trauma or other non-life threatening injuries.
Dozens of emergency vehicles were involved, including a helicopter.