CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A brave Charlotte mother is all that stood between her family and two armed burglars.
"It was only a 10 minute ordeal, but it was the longest-- I can honestly say the longest 10 minutes of my life," said the woman, who did not want to be identified.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say last Thursday, 22-year-old Theodore Fuller and 20-year-old Archie Fleming broke into her home on Pine Harbor Road.
"I just tried to stay calm, quiet. I knew if they saw me, it could have been something that turned out a lot worse. My kids could have seen me dead."
Around 10:45 in the morning, the woman heard her doorbell ring. She didn’t answer, and then she heard someone trying to kick the door in. She grabbed the phone and called 911, then ran to get her gun.
“Had this gun in the back. I pulled it forward, opened it. I grabbed it, closed the chamber. By the time I had it in my hand, they were in my house."
For safety reasons, the gun was unloaded. The woman is the mother of a 5-year-old daughter and 14-year-old son. The suspects got inside before she could put bullets into the .22 caliber revolver.
The woman hid behind the door to the laundry room. From there she could see the suspects.
"I peeked around to see him going up the stairs. The only reason I didn't jump out and point it at him was because I saw one in his hand, and I'm sure his was loaded."
The victim’s 14-year-old son was upstairs. He saw the gunmen and they saw him.
"He was frozen in fear, and was trying to text his dad, but was so scared he couldn't text," she said.
In the meantime, the mother considered bluffing the suspects with her unloaded gun.
"I have ‘iffed’ myself to death. If this would have happened, if that would have happened, if I would have heard something upstairs, what would I have done? I have ‘iffed’ it to death, I've very thankful very blessed.”
The one thing she’s certain of: if her gun had been loaded, she would have used it.
"I have no doubt I would have shot them. I might not be here today to talk about it, but I would have shot them," she said.
The woman took the advice of 911 operators and took no aggressive action. No one got hurt and police arrived about a minute after the suspects left.
Officers arrested them the same day. The victim would like to see them get a long prison sentence.
She says although her community is normally quiet, residents should be aware that trouble can find them.
"I'm very jumpy, very shaky, but overall I’m good. I feel thankful to be alive, thankful my kids are alive. Anytime I hear the doorbell ringing I start shaking.”