Police search for teens who attacked, terrorized young family

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ATLANTA - Atlanta police are looking for a group of home invaders who they say attacked and terrorized a young couple and their children.

The family had just returned from vacation to their home on Sumter Street in northwest Atlanta around 7:30 p.m. Sunday when someone knocked on their door.

Police say four teenagers asked to borrow a jack for their car, then tried to force their way inside.

When Michael Lash tried to close the door, police say the teens shot him in the legs.

Jessica Huffman fought back tears talking about her son-in-law’s bravery.

“He said, ‘I can't let you (in) because my wife and two children are in there.’ They said, ‘We want to go in and see them,’” Huffman told Channel 2’s Amy Napier Viteri. “So they shot him in his leg and then they shot him in his other leg.”

When Lash's wife, Whitney, heard the shots, she grabbed their infant daughter and ran toward the back door. The home invaders fired two shots at her, but missed.

She was able to escape out the back door and run to a nearby home for help.

“He followed her and caught up with her at the gate and she turned around and said, ‘Please don't shoot me, I have a little baby.’”

The couple's 2-year-old son was upstairs asleep when it happened. He was unharmed.

Huffman says the man told Whitney to give him her cellphone as several others ransacked the home, running off before police arrived.

“I just hate it for those young boys that they're doing this to their life, but if they’ve done it once I think they'll do it again,” Huffman said.

Neighbors told Channel 2’s Berndt Petersen they couldn’t believe what happened to their neighbors.

"It was just a shock,” neighbor Rance Jiles said. "Why they picked them out of the neighborhood to do this to, these young people, I don't understand it."

Jiles told Petersen he has lived in the neighborhood for years.

"I've always considered it a safe neighborhood. It's quiet. It's pretty much away from all crime,” neighbor Charlie Powell said.
Many people in the neighborhood say this is the last place they thought this would happen.

"You could pretty much leave your doors unlocked around here. You don't have to worry about anyone breaking in,” Powell said.

"We've had a few robberies, you know, burglaries, but as far as home invasions, this is the first one I know of in the 40 years I've been here,” Jiles said.

Jiles says the crime has him concerned, but not enough to make him change his behavior.

"I'm not gonna make any changes. I've been here 40 years. I'm just gonna watch out for my place and try to watch out for neighbors,” Jiles said.

After the shooting, the home invaders ran off. Police are looking for four males, believed to be teens.

Petersen spoke to Lash's wife Monday, who said he was having surgery and is expected to be OK.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help out the family if you would like to donate.