A brutal home invasion in north Fort Worth early Sunday left the family shaken and scared to return home.
Police are still searching for the four suspects, two of whom broke into the home in the 4000 block of Grover Avenue around 3:30 a.m. Sunday and assaulted a 24-year-old man while holding his wife and two children at gunpoint.
The man’s voice trembled as he spoke about the incident in a phone interview. He asked not to be identified, because the suspects were still at large Tuesday afternoon.
“It’s like we feel like criminals,” the man said. “We have to run from our house to be safe. We don’t have a place to stay. Everywhere we go, we’re wondering, ‘Are we going to be OK here?’ ”
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He said the terrifying incident began at about 3:15 a.m., when he was in his room playing his Xbox with headphones on and heard a loud noise.
“I thought to myself maybe my 1-year-old son fell off the bed,” the man said. “Usually he’d come out of the room right away, but I didn’t hear him coming so I was like, ‘Oh, this is something else.’ ”
He went to his son’s room and found two suspects, one with a gun pointed at the child’s head. One suspect wore a white mask, while the other had a hood over his head, the drawstrings pulled tightly around his face.
“He instantly began demanding for money,” said the man. “Where’s the money, where’s the money? Then they kept mentioning a bag. When that happened I freaked out. I could barely talk.”
The noise awakened the man’s wife, 22, and his 4-year-old son. When they came in the room, the suspects “grabbed him by his arm and his hair and they pointed the gun at him,” said the man. “After that they shot the gun in between me and my wife.”
The bullet missed, but the suspects kept a firm grip on the boy until the man frantically tossed them a pair of his jeans.
“My jeans had my wallet, my passport, my ID and my keys,” said the man. “I was like, ‘Just please don’t do anything to my family. Just leave us alone.’ ”
He said he was unsure how much money was in his wallet, but it was not enough for the suspects. He said the only other money he and his wife had were savings for their sons in the piggy bank on the dresser.
“You know — if we had a dollar or spare change, we would put it in there,” said the man.
Three days before the home invasion, he said, he went to a bank and had the change converted into bills. It totaled $100-$200.
“I put it under the mattress and I knew the money was there,” said the man. “They probably thought it was a lot of money because a lot of it was dollar bills.”
When he lifted the mattress slightly to get the money, one of the suspects hit him over the head with a gun.
“When he did that, I basically fell out,” said the man. “Then the other guy kicked me in my head really, really hard. After that I don’t remember how they got the money or anything.”
He said his wife told him one of the suspects pulled out a bag, stuffed the money inside, and they fled.
A tight-knit community
The man said his family has lived at the Grover Avenue home for about five years. He said the small community is tight-knit, made up of Mexican-American families that typically have neighborhood parties each weekend. He fears that the gatherings have given robbery-minded outsiders ideas.
Other families “can’t speak the language very well and they don’t use bank accounts,” said the man. “It made me think that there could be more of these cases where someone like myself is victimized but can’t speak out.”
He said he understands the stigma of crime being associated with Mexican-Americans in the area and had to clarify to detectives that the incident had nothing to do with drug activity.
“I play soccer for a local amateur team once week with my high school friends,” said the victim. “I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, and this had nothing to do with drugs at all.”
The episode has shaken his family to the core.
“It’s been really hard for all of us, especially for my wife. She can’t even sleep,” said the victim. “She’s just been shaking, like really scared, and my son is like, ‘We need to buy another house. I’m scared and I don’t want to be here. The bad men are coming and they’re mean.’ ”
Fort Worth police described the two suspects who went inside the home as African-Americans. One had a medium build, is more than 6 feet tall, and wore a hooded jacket. The other suspect is about 5 feet, 10 inches tall with a slender build. He wore a mask over his face.
The other two suspects didn’t enter the house, so no description was available.
Anyone with information about the suspects is asked to call police at 817-392-4469.