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OROVILLE, Calif. - An Oroville mother who shot and killed an intruder in July is sharing her story for the first time.
"I did exactly what I needed to do," Haley Cherms said. She describes "living in a nightmare," ever since a night in July changed her life.
It happened on July 24 around 3:30 a.m.
Cherms and her husband, David Sidebottom, and their two young children and godson were all asleep at their home in Oroville. The baby was sleeping in the bed with her mom and dad.
The alarm went off, so, with his baby in his arms, David got up to see what was going on. Haley followed them out into the living room.
They did not see what was on their home surveillance camera. There was a masked man holding a large gun, peeking into the windows, moving children's toys, and looking under plants for keys.
Sidebottom handed Cherms the baby, then went to the back door by the kitchen and opened it up and see if he could see something. The masked man wearing gloves popped up and pointed the gun at David, and pushed his way in the home.
He demanded to know who else was in the home. However, Sidebottom didn't tell him.
From a hallway across the living room, Cherms saw that the man had a gun pointed at her husband, but in a stroke of good fortune, the intruder did not see her.
"He was yelling, like, he was very aggressive," Cherms said. "I just kind of clutched my baby to keep her really quiet and just kind of tip-toed down the hall as fast as I could."
The robber, later identified as 33-year-old Cody Faunce, of Oroville, demanded Sidebottom's keys.
But after getting the keys, he didn't leave.
"Honestly my mind frame was to give him the keys and get him out of the house, Sidebottom said. "After he started smashing stuff, I didn't know what was going to happen after that."
Cherms went straight to her bedroom and to her gun safe by her bed. Her hands were shaking, but she was able to get to her weapon.
She tiptoed into her other daughter's room with her baby in her arms, as she heard yelling, and a loud commotion coming from the living room.
It sounded like the robber was pistol-whipping her husband.
"I was like 'this guy's already got the keys, Cherms said. "If he wanted to leave he would have left.' So I knew that at some point I was going to have to fight fire with fire. I knew that. I'm not going to let somebody hurt my kids. If he kills me, what is he going to do to them?"
Cherms gave her baby to her other young daughter in the next room and instructed her to keep the baby quiet, and to not come out of the room, "no matter what happened."
Then she went down the hall, jumped out from around the corner. She said Faunce pointed his gun at her, and she "emptied her clip."
Despite trying to use her husband as a shield, Faunce was shot and killed. Sidebottom was shot twice, and rushed to the hospital. Neither Cherms, nor her children were injured.
Sidebottom is now paralyzed, but fully supports his wife's actions. They say they are both grateful that everyone in the family is still alive.
But life since that night remains difficult. Cherms quit her job to take care of her husband fulltime, and they are struggling to pay the mortgage with no income.
Cherms told Action News Now that she is sharing her story to stress the importance of home protection and safety. She also said Faunce had a violent criminal history, and should not have been out of prison.
According to Yuba County Superior Court records, in 2005, Faunce was arrested in a violent carjacking and drug-dealing. The drug charge was dismissed, but he was sentenced to 8 years in prison for the carjacking and a weapons charge.
Cherms said she feels like she's living in a nightmare from which she can't wake up. She quit her job to take care of her husband fulltime. They have used most of their savings paying their mortgage and mounting hospital bills, and she says they may lose their home.
Still, she says every moment, like a simple family movie night, has special meaning.
Cherms said, after the shooting, she spent a lot of time thinking about what she did. She came to the conclusion that she did the right thing. "That's exactly what I was supposed to do in that situation to protect my family. I have no idea what he was capable of. They have their dad. That's what's important."
Watch the full story and surveillance video above.
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