Irving, Texas, July 24, 2008– On May 7, 2007, Julie Bender of Orlando, Fla., spent her morning at gunpoint.
Awakened at approximately 4:45 a.m. by noises at her front door, she went to investigate and saw someone breaking through her front door with a sledge hammer. Running into her bedroom, she pressed the panic button on her Brink’s Home Security alarm keypad, and, phone in hand, locked herself in her bathroom while attempting to call 911.
Brink’s Monitoring Operator, Dianne Robinson, received the panic signal and called Julie’s home. Receiving no answer, Robinson immediately requested a dispatch from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
Julie’s assailant eventually broke through the bedroom door, identified himself as her ex-boyfriend, and demanded she open the bathroom door. Afraid he might try to shoot through the door, Julie complied. Her ex-boyfriend pointed the gun at her chest and demanded she turn off the alarm.
“I was afraid he was going to kill me. I begged him not to shoot me,” she said in the police report. “He yelled at me to turn off the alarm and again I refused. He kept the gun pointed at my chest and yelled at me to turn off the alarm.”
Knowing that her alarm system was her first and only line of defense, Julie entered the wrong code, pretending she couldn’t turn it off.
“He pointed the gun at me and ordered me to sit on the bed,” Julie said. “I refused. I was begging him not to hurt me, and he said he wasn’t going to hurt me, but he was going to kill himself.”
The phone rang and her ex-boyfriend told her to answer it and say she was alright. It was the police, who asked Julie a series of yes and no questions that let them know she was in danger without raising the suspicions of her ex-boyfriend. They told Julie they were already at her home.
Julie begged her ex-boyfriend to let her go but he refused, so she began stalling by talking about their relationship and why they had broken up. “He was agitated and angry and kept saying that he couldn’t live without me, that he wasn’t going to kill me, but he was going to shoot himself in the chest,” she said.
Then, just as quickly as she was taken hostage, he let her go while he remained barricaded in the home.
The police continued to negotiate with him, attempting to arrest him peacefully but he continued to threaten to kill himself. Nearly three hours later, a single gunshot was heard. SWAT entered the house and found Julie’s ex-boyfriend dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
If not for the Brink’s Home Security System, the outcome of this terrible morning might have been completely different. The immediate response of the Brink’s Monitoring Operator allowed police to arrive on the scene in mere minutes after the initial panic signal.
Because of their quick response, Brink’s Home Security was awarded the First Line of Defense Award from the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association.
“The quick action of Julie in hitting the panic button, and our operator in working with the police were critical in saving Julie's life. The fast response by the police made the difference in an extremely dangerous situation that in an instant could have turned out more tragically, said Carole Vanyo, Brink’s Home Security Senior Vice President of Customer Operations.
NBFAA, a non-profit 501(c) 6 trade association, is the nation's oldest and largest organization dedicated to representing, promoting, and supporting the electronic life safety, security, and systems industry. Member companies specialize in a wide spectrum of services to commercial and residential consumers, including security and fire alarms, video surveillance, access control and monitoring. In cooperation with a federation of state associations, NBFAA provides government advocacy and delivers timely information, professional development tools, products and services that members use to grow and prosper their businesses. The NBFAA may be reached at (888) 447-1689 or on the Web at www.alarm.org.