WEST VALLEY CITY — Doris Rucker Wasden said Monday she is still on edge after a gunman held her hostage inside her home for several hours over the weekend.
The 99-year-old said she's grateful for the police officers and paramedics who helped her and wouldn't mind seeing them again next weekend — but under happier circumstances.
Saturday will be a big day for Wasden. That’s the day she turns 100 years old. The whole town is invited to the birthday party at her house. She wants to see as many people as she can.
“Oh, it’s going to be a big one,” she said with enthusiasm.
It will be a lot different than what happened Friday night when an uninvited visitor broke into her home by firing a gun through a sliding glass door as he was fleeing police.
“Oh, it was at night. I was in bed,” she recalled.
Police had been looking for Freddy Alexander Velasquez, 18, since late November, when court records indicate he escaped from a Weber County Jail work crew.
The incident first began about 8 p.m. Friday when a shooting was reported at a Magna house. No one was injured in the shooting. Police say they tracked Velasquez to the Sleep Inn hotel not far from Wasden's West Valley home.
As officers tried to apprehend him, they say he fled into a nearby residential neighborhood. Once he got behind Wasden's home near 3500 South and 2200 West, he allegedly shot out the back door so he could get inside.
Her adult grandchildren said he threatened them with that gun and demanded their car keys. Police were right outside and helped them escape, but that left Wasden, who isn't very mobile, stuck inside with the intruder.
She said Velasquez started rummaging through her jewelry box.
“He took the one tray out and dropped it on the floor, and that's when I told him, 'Don't make a mess!'” she recalled.
Over the next couple of hours, she said he started to calm down a bit.
“He patted the dog, and I said, ‘Such a nice little dog’ and he said, ‘Yeah.’”
She added, “I could tell he was scared and everything because he told me the policemen were here, and I told him, 'You ought to just go rest on my couch and rest for a little while,” she said with a laugh.Comment on this story
Eventually, she said he let her leave the house. Police say Velasquez eventually found the car keys, went into the attached garage and tried to drive away. Multiple SWAT officers pounced as he allegedly tried to steal the car.
Despite the frightening ordeal, Wasden and her family said they don't have any hard feelings for Velasquez. They even want the 18-year-old to know that they forgive him.
The house is mostly cleaned up now. There's still some broken glass out back and a bullet hole in the kitchen table. But all in all, the family is ready for an exciting birthday milestone celebration this weekend.