A man was ambushed by three men as he opened the door to his apartment on Aug. 2, at around 10:45 p.m., according to police spokeswoman Liz Wylie. Police said a quick-thinking teen with a BB gun managed to scare the robbers away.
When the victim, a 43-year-old Mountain View man, opened the door to his apartment in the 200 block of Ortega, he was grabbed from behind and placed in a choke hold by a man with what witnesses have described as a small, black, semi-automatic handgun, Wylie said.
The attacker pointed the gun at the man's head. The victim immediately reached back and attempted to wrestle the gun away from his attacker, Wylie said.
During the fracas, the man's son -- who was in the apartment with a friend -- stood up and began moving toward his father and the assailant to help his father. This prompted the attacker to point his gun at the boy, a 15-year-old, who lives with his father.
Around the time the initial assailant pointed the gun at the boy, two more would-be robbers rushed into the apartment and began searching the father, Wylie said. As the two men patted down the victim, the boy's friend -- who is also 15 and who happened to be playing with a BB gun at the time of the attack -- stood up and pointed his toy weapon at the first of the robbers.
He cocked the BB gun, which made a sound similar to that of a real firearm being loaded.
The robbers, presumably believing there was a live round in the chamber of a real gun, backed out of the apartment, while still pointing the gun at the man's son and the friend still pointing his BB gun at the armed man, Wylie said.
The father told police he believed the robbers hopped a fence and fled into a backyard on Gabriel Avenue, Wylie said. Officers set up a perimeter in the area, but no suspects were apprehended. A police dog picked up a scent along the railroad tracks near Central Expressway and San Antonio Road, several blocks away from the scene of the crime, but then lost it, she said.
No one was seriously hurt, Wylie said, who called the actions of the young boy with the toy gun "brave." She added: "We do not recommend that people engage violent suspects, especially if the suspect is armed."
The robbers were described three black men in their late teens to early 20s. They wore all black clothing. The man who held the gun was skinny. The other two were chubby and of medium build, respectively.
Police are asking for any witnesses to come forward with information they may have. Callers may remain anonymous: 650-903-6395.