Protect yourself from HOME INVASION
The same man with a gun and knife threatens two Welches families
When Yereida Ruiz Perez went to bed Sept. 7, 2012, she had no idea her nights 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. Thats 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 wasnt 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.
He 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 didnt have anything to give the man who was pointing a gun at him. He just kept him talking, and eventually helped change the mans mind about his demand for cash. After about 20 minutes of talking, the man left without taking anything or hurting Baker.
But in the nights 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 wasnt 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 wouldnt 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 thats 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 didnt 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, Bakers wife was trying to do something to help him. She had jumped through the bedroom window and ran to a neighbors 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-Bakers voice was so loud that the police and sheriffs 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! Theyre 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 sheriffs deputies arrived at the residence.
In my panic, Emmerling-Baker said, I didnt believe the sheriffs 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 hadnt yet accomplished it when the home invasion took place.
But they are finding it difficult to relax. The suspect hasnt yet been tried, and the Bakers dont know if he has any friends.
The sheriffs detective told us we have to be vigilant, Emmerling-Baker said. Youre not safe anywhere; you have to lock the door. We have a new alert dog now, and I carry mace.
We didnt have a plan. We didnt have a phone in our room. Now we have a plan. And we have chain locks on all the doors. Now, we dont 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 cant talk about it without her voice breaking and her eyes tearing.
While these werent 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.
Thats 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.
The suspect was arrested in the afternoon of Sept. 8, 2012. Since his arrest, he has been incarcerated in the Clackamas County Jail and hasnt yet been tried in court or accepted a plea bargain.