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6-year-old recounts terror of man breaking into home, threatening to kill family

SALT LAKE CITY — Five young children and their grandmother survived a terrifying experience Tuesday when police say a man who they suspect was high on drugs broke into their home and threatened to kill everyone inside.

"The man said he was going to cut our necks," recalled 6-year-old Hanoe Angelina Flores, who called 911 during the ordeal.

The incident began about 11:45 a.m. in the Poplar Grove neighborhood near 500 South and 1000 West. A woman and her five grandchildren — all between the ages of 3 and 7 — were watching TV at home when a man broke through their front door, said Salt Lake police detective Cody Lougy.

"The homeowners have no idea who he is, and he started breaking the front door down," Lougy said. "They run to the back bedroom and barricade themselves. He runs after them but stops off in the kitchen to get a 14-inch knife."

Hanoe said she and her siblings were very frightened when the man burst into the house.

"We started to scream and jump," she said.

The chaotic scene continued as the grandmother ordered the children to run to a back bedroom.

"Then the man started to knock down the things and my room is a mess because he was in my room. Then he opened my mom's door. Then he was saying bad words. Then he went to try to put my grandma's door down. Then we started all to cry. Then I called 911, then I called my mom," said Hanoe, who was taught how to dial 911 by her mother.

The family locked the bedroom door and pressed their bodies against it to prevent the man from breaking it down while Hanoe called 911, Lougy said.

Nearby officers responded with their lights and sirens and arrived at the house while the intruder was still there.

Inside, the man fought with officers as they tried to tackle him in the laundry room. After the man was taken into custody, officers had to put a "spit mask" over him and restrain him on a gurney because he continued to be combative, the detective said.

"They had him on the floor, on the grass," the young girl recalled.

The children's mother and father were nearby and returned home about the same time as officers arrived.

Police were still trying to identify the heavily tattooed man in his 30s. The man did not have any ties to the house he broke into or the family, Lougy said. Hanoe said, however, that one of her neighbors may have known the man.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the intruder remained under heavy sedation and was being watched by officers at a local hospital, Lougy said.

Detectives were investigating whether he was high on Spice at the time.

Contributing: Mike Anderson

Email: preavy@deseretnews.com, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam