Only on 5: Homeowner credits yard man in Galloway home invasion - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Only on 5: Homeowner credits yard man in Galloway home invasion

By Jason Miles - bio | email | Follow us on Twitter

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Memphis cops responded to a home invasion Monday near Coach Cal's old house.

"He saved my life," says the homeowner in an exclusive interview.

She says her yard-man became a hero.

"He just did all the right things," she says.  "It was just amazing," she adds.

She's too shaken to be identified, but recalls hiding in a bathroom after seeing an armed man in her driveway.  He was pointing a gun at the family's long-time landscaper.

"And I looked out and saw him holding the gun," she recalls.

"Next think I heard was click, click," recalls landscaper Willie Rhodes.

Rhodes is known as "Punch" to family and friends.

"He saw me as an opportunity to go into this house and take something," says Rhodes.

He says he knew the homeowner was inside as the suspect repeatedly demanded money.

"He said I need some money," recalls Rhodes.  "I said you can work and do like I'm doing," he says.  "He said I ain't got to do that, I need some money right now!"

Rhodes says he prayed the homeowner called 911.  However, he did not want the suspect to find her.  So he decided to buy them time.  He took the gunman from room to room, calling the homeowner's name, and hoping she'd never answer.

"Cause if he had put us together, we don't know what would have happened," says Rhodes.

They eventually got to the bathroom where the homeowner was hiding.

"The man turned the knob and tried to get the door open," says the homeowner.

"He shook it," recalls Rhodes.  "But you couldn't tell it was a bathroom," he adds.

The homeowner can still hear the sound of the doorknob jiggling as the suspect turned it.

"It was really scary," she says.

The doorbell finally rang and the gunman allowed Rhodes to answer it.  He believed the gunman thought it might be the homeowner.  Thankfully, it was a police officer.

"I just stepped out and said there's a man in there with a gun, got a gun on me," recalls Rhodes.

The suspect escaped through another door as the homeowner came out of hiding.

"We love him to death," says the homeowner.

She says she has a new found respect for the family's yard-man.

"He's like part of the family," she says.

Meantime, the yard man says he wants nothing more than yard work from now on.

"That's the worst experience I've ever experienced in my life," says Rhodes.

The homeowner believes she encountered the suspect earlier in the morning walking along the street in front of her house.  He was possibly casing the neighborhood.  There is only a vague description of the armed man.  Call Crime-Stoppers at 901-528-CASH with any information.

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