Updated: Friday, 13 Aug 2010, 7:04 AM MDT
Published : Wednesday, 11 Aug 2010, 6:23 PM MDT
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - When three teenage burglars pried open the door of a northwest Albuquerque home they had no idea they would be met by a brave little girl, police said Wednesday.
Alyssa Gutierrez, 11, took matters into her own hands Tuesday when police said when Miguel Marquez, Eduardo Zubiate and Jesus Quintana broke into her home.
Gutierrez armed herself with a loaded rifle.
"I was planning, if they came right next to me, I would shoot them," Gutierrez said.
But Gutierrez, who will start sixth grade next week, never got the chance because she'd spooked the burglars.
Gutierrez said her cousins went to run an errand around the corner from their home and were gone for a few minutes when she heard the backdoor rattle.
"I thought it was (my cousin) Zachary playing a joke on me so I just turned the TV louder and ignored it," Gutierrez said.
But on the other side of the door were the burglars who pried open the door with a crowbar. Gutierrez believes that they'd seen her cousins leave and chose to break into the home when they thought no one was there.
She said when the Marquez, Zubiate and Quintana got inside, she heard them talk about stealing guns in the home. Gutierrez and her family told KRQE News 13 that they knew one of the suspects and believed the group targeted the home to steal their guns.
"My heart kept on pounding and pounding," Gutierrez said.
She said she slid to the floor from the couch when she saw the trio, but quickly decided that hiding wouldn't do her any good because the masked intruders had seen her.
"They had a rifle so I was thinking, 'What should I do? 'What if they shoot me?'" Gutierrez said.
That's when she made a beeline for her mother's room.
"I ran back into my mom's room and grabbed her little pink rifle, and there was two bullets in there," she said.
With the loaded rifle, Gutierrez said she checked the bathroom and then the living room ready to defend herself. She said she ran to her mother's closet and called 911.
But while Gutierrez protected her home, she had no idea the suspects had jumped the fence and that an off-duty APD officer driving passed her home had spotted them.
Police arrested the three teens and their alleged getaway driver, Abraham Bustillos, minutes after the break-in.
Gutierrez said she feels lucky because just a few days ago she had learned how to shoot a rifle.
"I felt proud of myself," Gutierrez said.
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