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Protect yourself from HOME INVASION

The same man with a gun and knife threatens two Welches families


by: POST PHOTO: JIM HART - POST PHOTO: JIM HART On stage at the 2012 awards ceremonies for the Clackamas County Sheriff's Department are, from left, Sheriff Craig Roberts, Welches resident Yereida Ruiz Perez and former Welches resident Joshua Baker. Ruiz Perez and Baker were honored with the sheriff's distinguished service awards.When Yereida Ruiz Perez went to bed Sept. 7, 2012, she had no idea her night’s sleep would be violently interrupted.

She also had no idea she would be given a distinguished service award for bravery from the Clackamas County sheriff.

The teenager was asleep in her parents’ home near Welches at about midnight. That’s when she heard a small noise and opened her eyes.

The shape of a man standing in her bedroom doorway was unmistakable. He began to move toward her. She jumped up and began to scream. The masked man grabbed her wrist and tried to pull her off the bed. With all of the adrenaline energy she could muster, the petite teen kicked the man in the stomach, and he fell back against her dresser.

“I just kept on screaming,” said Ruiz Perez, “and he just ran away. Then I ran to my parents’ room (to call 9-1-1).”

Not the first time

The man wasn’t new to home invasion. Although it went unreported, a week earlier he had entered another home a short distance from the one he had just fled.

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: TINA LEIKAM - Formerly of Welches, Denise Emmerling-Baker and Josh Baker are pictured at home. Baker was recognized last week for bravery in a home invasion. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: TINA LEIKAMHe had entered that home with a gun and demanded cash from the lone occupant, Josh Baker, a Hoodland volunteer firefighter and teacher at Cedar Ridge Middle School.

But Baker didn’t have anything to give the man who was pointing a gun at him. He just kept him talking, and eventually helped change the man’s mind about his demand for cash. After about 20 minutes of talking, the man left without taking anything or hurting Baker.

He’s back

But in the night’s darkness on Sept. 7, and still hurting from that stomach kick, the man returned to the Baker home.

This time, Baker was in the bedroom with his wife, Denise Emmerling-Baker, and the man wasn’t quite as compliant as he was during the previous visit.

This time he was more aggressive and was waving a knife.

Emmerling-Baker admits being scared.

Again, there was no cash for the man to take, and he wouldn’t take anything else.

Instead, he said he would take Emmerling-Baker as a sort of hostage. Perhaps he had in mind some ransom; no one knows because that’s when Baker did his best to prevent the man from taking his wife from the home.

In the ensuing fight, Baker was stabbed three times: once in the back hitting his kidney, and twice on his arms — one cut an artery on his arm, which caused blood to spurt all over the house while the two were fighting.

“I didn’t even know I had been stabbed,” Baker said. “There was so much adrenalin, and when (the man) had finally left I saw the blood was spurting what seemed like a foot away from my arm and it was all over the house.”

Meanwhile, Baker’s wife was trying to do something to help him. She had jumped through the bedroom window and ran to a neighbor’s home.

“When they started to fight, I thought the best thing was to get help,” Emmerling-Baker said. “It made no sense for us to be lying here dying. I ran away screaming for help.”

Help is on the way

Fortunately, the sheriff and police were in the area because of the earlier incident with Ruiz Perez. Emmerling-Baker’s voice was so loud that the police and sheriff’s deputies (one-quarter mile away) and several neighbors all heard her screaming.

“(The neighbors) asked me if I was OK,” she said, “and I said, ‘No! They’re stabbing Josh; you have to save Josh.’ Then I called 9-1-1.”

But Baker already had used his fire-service radio to call for help. Within two minutes, a Sandy police officer and sheriff’s deputies arrived at the residence.

“In my panic,” Emmerling-Baker said, “I didn’t believe the sheriff’s deputies and the police officer were real. How could they come here in two minutes?”

Baker was taken to Legacy Emanuel Hospital & Health Center for treatment of his injuries and observation.

Still on edge

Now that the adrenaline flow has subsided, the Bakers are trying to relax in the metro-area home they moved to soon after the attack. They had already planned the move but hadn’t yet accomplished it when the home invasion took place.

But they are finding it difficult to relax. The suspect hasn’t yet been tried, and the Bakers don’t know if he has any friends.

“The sheriff’s detective told us we have to be vigilant,” Emmerling-Baker said. “You’re not safe anywhere; you have to lock the door. We have a new alert dog now, and I carry mace.

“We didn’t have a plan. We didn’t have a phone in our room. Now we have a plan. And we have chain locks on all the doors. Now, we don’t leave any windows open at night, because (home invasion) can happen anywhere.”

These attempted robbery/kidnapping incidents happened more than six months ago, and young Ruiz Perez is still having nightmares about the incident. She also can’t talk about it without her voice breaking and her eyes tearing.

Examples

While these weren’t the only home invasions in the county last year, they are local examples of how devastating they are to a person of any age or gender.

Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts recognizes the bravery it takes to stand up to any burglar or home invader.

That’s why Roberts gives the distinguished service award to citizens who show “extraordinary heroism and bravery at the risk of personal harm.”

Among those receiving this honor during formal ceremonies last week were Ruiz Perez and Baker.

In the audience was Emmerling-Baker, clapping her hands louder than anyone.

It took only four of her words to speak volumes, when she called herself a “proud and lucky wife.”

Epilog

The suspect was arrested in the afternoon of Sept. 8, 2012. Since his arrest, he has been incarcerated in the Clackamas County Jail and hasn’t yet been tried in court or accepted a plea bargain.