1 Hurt in home invasion; suspects on the loose

Posted: Updated:

PHOENIX -- Four to six armed men broke into a West Phoenix home early Wednesday morning, waking a family of seven and tying them up.

It happened at about 4 a.m. in the neighborhood of 51st Avenue just south of Indian School Road.

Details are still developing, but according to police, the suspects kicked down the door and ransacked the home.

According to Sgt. Tommy Thompson of the Phoenix Police Department, the suspects claimed to be the police.

"[It was] obvious they weren't," he said. "They were wearing masks. They took all the occupants ... zip-tied them and then began ransacking the house. They had weapons. They threatened to do bodily harm to some of the younger children if they didn't cooperate."

The victims included a man, a woman and five teenage children.

The suspects pistol whipped the man. That injured man was taken into custody on an outstanding warrant that might be related to his immigration status.

While police do not yet know why the home was targeted, they said the suspects left the scene with several items.

Thompson said everything happened very quickly, explaining that the suspects were only in the house for 15 to 20 minutes.

Shots were fired in the course of the incident. Investigators said one of the residents opened fire on the suspects as they fled the home. No injuries were reported.

The victims were understandably shaken.

"To have your door busted down at  4 o'clock in the morning by robbers, that's a traumatic experience," Thompson said.

3TV's Yetta Gibson was on the scene before the crime-scene tape went up and reported seeing several children get into the Police Department's Crisis Response Unit. Those kids were not injured.

The investigation is just getting under way so there is no description of the suspects other than that they are Hispanic men and no details about the victims.

Police who have worked similar incidents, including Thompson himself, say home-invasion type crimes generally are not random.

If you have any information about Wednesday morning's incident, you're asked to call Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS (948-6377), 1-800-343-TIPS (8477) or 480-TESTIGO (837-8446).