California mom had to shoot robber in struggle that paralyzed her husband, she says

An Oroville, California, mother says she’s been “living in a nightmare” since shooting and killing an armed intruder at her home during a July struggle that left her husband paralyzed.

But the family is grateful to have all survived the frightening encounter.

“I did exactly what I needed to do,” Haley Cherms said of the home invasion, according to a KHSL report on Friday. “I’m not going to let somebody hurt my kids. If he kills me, what is he going to do to them?”

Deputies were called to the home around 3:30 a.m. on July 24, where they discovered Cody Faunce, the 33-year-old intruder, dead inside, according to the Butte County Sheriff’s Office.

Cherms’ husband, David Sidebottom, also had gunshot wounds and was taken by ambulance to an area hospital, deputies said. The kids in the home “were not injured and were taken to a safe location,” KRCR reported in July.

The Sheriff’s Office said their investigation revealed the situation was the result of a botched home invasion, in which the suspect, “who was armed with a handgun, tried to gain entry into the back of the home and was met by the male homeowner.”

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Sidebottom didn’t reveals to Faunce that his wife, godson and two young children were inside the home, according to KHSL. Cherms told the TV station that she handed off her baby to her young daughter and told the girl to keep quiet and hide.

Then, as Sidebottom and the armed intruder struggled, Cherms “retrieved a firearm and fired several shots towards the suspect, striking both the suspect and the male homeowner,” deputies said.

Cherms said she “emptied her clip” even as Faunce tried to turn her husband into a human shield, resulting in injuries that left Sidebottom paralyzed and in a wheelchair — though he said he completely supports his wife’s quick thinking, KHSL reported.

Cherms wasn’t hurt, the Sheriff’s Office said in July, and no one was arrested.

But in the aftermath of the shooting Cherms “quit her job to take care of her husband full-time, and they are struggling to pay the mortgage with no income,” the TV station reports.

A Facebook fundraiser for the family brought in more than $10,000.

Nearly 200 people donated, according to Facebook.

“David’s recovery is going to be tough,” wrote Carla Small, who created the fundraiser, adding that “the money being donated to this family will help with bills, medical bills and building ramps and other necessary home modifications.”

Cherms wrote in a Facebook post on Aug. 14 that the family was “in shock at all of the help and support” that poured in, saying “we didn’t realize we needed it but we absolutely do and we are just so humbled and appreciative.”

She also said Sidebottom’s doctor referred him to a spine specialist, and that he “has some sensation and he has even wiggled toes.”

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Jared Gilmour is a McClatchy national reporter based in San Francisco. He covers everything from health and science to politics and crime. He studied journalism at Northwestern University and grew up in North Dakota.