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Brave 7-year-old hugs, thanks 911 dispatcher

March 10, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
The 7-year-old who called 911 to save his family from gunmen thanked the emergency dispatcher who helped him.The L.A. County Sheriff's Department said Carlos was extremely brave, adding that had he not been able to call 911, the situation could have had a very different outcome.

In a room full of reporters and cameras, Carlos was very vocal in describing his traumatic brush with the armed intruders.

"One of them had just a jacket and they both had guns, but there was three of them. One was outside waiting for the other guy and the car was green," Carlos told reporters at the conference.

When asked if he was scared during the event, Carlos shrugged and said, "Just a little bit."

The 911 operator Monique Patino immediately gave him a big hug and told him that he was a very brave little boy. Carlos had just one thing to say to the lady on the other end of the phone.

"Thank you Monique," Carlos said.

Police said three men had burst into the home and threatened a couple. Carlos and his sister hid in a bathroom, where Carlos made a harrowing 911 call.

Operator: "911, state your emergency"

Boy: "There's some guy that's going to kill my mom and dad. Can you come please?"

Operator: "OK. How old are you?"

Boy: "Can you come really fast please, please?"

Within seconds, Patino had the boy's home address and had deputies en route.

"They were frantic, they were terrified. They were so scared, and all I heard at first was them screaming and crying," Patino said.

Patino tried to keep Carlos and his sister calm and tried to get more information about the home invasion.

Operator: "Can you tell me what happened?"

Boy: "They rang the door and they have guns to shoot my mom and dad."

Operator: "Right now?"

Boy: "Yes. Can you come really fast? Bring some cops?"

Operator: "I have them coming, hon. Listen, OK? Listen to me. Take a deep breath. How old are you?"

Boy: "Seven years old."

Operator: "Where are you at in the house?"

Boy: "Inside the bathroom."

Operator: "You're in the bathroom? Who's with you?"

Boy: "It's my sister."

Operator: "How old is she?"

Boy: "Six years old. Can you come really fast? Hurry up!"

Operator: "Yes. Stay on the line with me. Don't hang up."

Boy: "OK."

Operator: "Tell me exactly what happened, OK? Just stay where you are and don't hang up, whatever you do."

Boy: "OK. They ring. The guys have a --"

Next, screaming can be heard over the phone.

"When I heard their voices and heard their screaming, instantly my reaction is, 'They found the kids,'" said Patino at the Wednesday news conference as she fought back tears.

"I can still hear his little voice on the phone, so to hear him talking in person brought back the memories of that phone call," said Patino.

Patino's instincts proved accurate. The Sheriff's Department said the gunmen busted open the bathroom door and asked Carlos who he called. When he said 911, they took off.

Patino said she has two children, ages 7 and 8, and her kids know how and when to call 911. She said it's an important lesson to teach at an early age.

Patino was thankful Carlos and his family were not hurt.

"He's the one who really touched me the most," she said.

A neighbor of Carlos' family described the little boy as "an angel from heaven."

"His parents must be very proud of him," said Helen Martinez, a neighbor.

The three suspects were not located by authorities. They were last seen driving away from the house in a grey or green two-door Acura RSX. Anyone with information on the suspects in this case was urged to call CrimeStoppers at (800) 222-TIPS.