Oroville, CA – A California mother saved her husband and children by fatally shooting an armed robber who broke into her home in July.
The harrowing ordeal began at approximately 3:30 a.m. on July 24, as Haley Cherms and her husband, David Sidebottom, were asleep in their home with their godson and their two young children, KNVN reported.
The couple was awakened by their home security alarm, so Sidebottom scooped their baby up and went out to the living room to see what triggered it.
Security footage showed a masked intruder sneaking around the outside of their home, looking into windows and checking under outdoor plants for hidden keys, KNVN reported.
But the couple didn’t see the footage at the time.
Sidebottom handed the baby off to Cherms, then made his way over to the back door and opened it up.
“That’s when he popped up from behind the door with a gun in my face,” the father told KNVN.
Cherms was positioned far enough away that she could see the armed intruder pointing a gun at Sidebottom, but the suspect didn’t see her.
“He was yelling…He was very aggressive,” Cherms told KNVN. “"I just kind of clutched my baby to keep her really quiet and just kind of tip-toed down the hall as fast as I could…The second I seen that gun, there was not an option in my mind.”
While Cherms raced to her bedroom to get her gun out of a safe, the suspect, later identified as 33-year-old Cody Faunce, ordered Sidebottom to hand over his keys.
Sidebottom complied with his demands, hoping the armed intruder would take off.
“My mind frame was to give him the keys and get him out of the house,” the father told KNVN.
But Faunce didn’t leave, and instead began smashing objects inside the couple’s home.
“After he started smashing stuff, I didn’t know what was going to happen,” Sidebottom said.
While Faunce was ransacking the residence, Cherms snuck into her other daughter’s room and left her with the baby.
She told her to keep the infant quiet, and to stay hidden in her room “no matter what happened,” Cherms told KNVN.
The mother said she knew that if all Faunce wanted was their keys, he would have already left the home.
“So, I knew that at some point I was going to have to fight fire with fire. I knew that,” she said. “I'm not going to let somebody hurt my kids. If he kills me, what is he going to do to them?"
Cherms said she could hear the attacker pistol-whipping Sidebottom as she snuck back down the hall.
She surprised Faunce by jumping out from around the corner, then “emptied her clip” as he pointed his gun at her, she told KNVN.
The armed intruder grabbed Sidebottom and tried to use him as a human shield, but the determined mother still managed to fatally shoot him.
Sidebottom tried to get out of the way, but he was also struck by two of the rounds.
Although his injuries caused him to become paralyzed, he said he completely supports the actions his wife took to protect him and their children, KNVN reported.
The couple said they are thankful that everyone in their family survived the attack, but acknowledged that life has been difficult since that terrifying night.
"That's exactly what I was supposed to do in that situation to protect my family. I have no idea what he was capable of,” she said. “They have their dad. That's what's important."
Cherms ended up quitting her job in order to take care of her husband, and they have no income to help them pay their bills, KNVN reported.
The family has been “living in a nightmare” since the attack, and may lose their home, she said.
A fundraising account established to help the family has raised over $900 so far.
Cherms also expressed frustration that Faunce was even out of prison in the first place.
According to court records, Faunce was sentenced to eight years in prison in 2005 for weapons and carjacking offenses, KNVN reported.
He was also charged with drug-dealing offenses, but those were ultimately dropped.