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12-year-old protects brothers, sister from armed intruder

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VANCOUVER, Wash. – Mazzeo Sanchez says he doesn’t want to go back to his apartment after his home turned into a crime scene.

Last week, Mazzeo told KGW that he heard someone walk into their apartment and initially thought it was his dad.

“Then I hear walking and I hear like heavy breathing,” he said. “He looked like he got into a fight. He had dirt all over his face.”

It was around 6:30 a.m. last Friday, and Mazzeo’s mom was already at work.

Mazzeo watched as the man started looking through drawers and pulled out a knife.

At that point, the 12-year-old got his younger brothers and sister into one room and told them to hide.

As they were sneaking into the room, Mazzeo says the man looked at him and started making his way toward them.

However, a family friend who was sleeping in another room heard Mazzeo and ran into the bedroom with the kids.

“I’m holding the door with my foot there so he can’t kick it in because he keeps trying to kick it in,” said Roger Duffey. “Me, knowing that he had a knife in his hand, I’m like… I don’t have anything, so I’m just going to keep them in this room.”

When police arrived, they shot and killed the alleged suspect, 25-year-old Justin Burton.