STOCKTON - Edison High School wrestling coach Carlos Soto was shot in the leg Tuesday morning while fighting off four intruders during a home-invasion robbery at his family's home in northeast Stockton, police reported.
Soto, 24, awoke about 4 a.m. to the sound of someone kicking in a glass door at the front of the home in the 4600 block of Tudor Rose Glen, just south of East Eight Mile Road, he said. Fearing the intruders would hurt his mother, father and sisters, who were sleeping upstairs, Soto came out of his first-floor bedroom and began fighting them in the entryway, he said.
"I didn't have any time to think about anything else except to run out there and fight, because I knew they were coming inside to do harm," said Soto, who was a standout wrestler at Lincoln High School, San Joaquin Delta College and Menlo College in Atherton. "There was no choice but to fight. I just tried to keep my head on a swivel, and anybody who came at me was going to get hit."
Soto said he knocked down the first intruder he encountered and forced the second up against a wall. Yazmin Soto, 22, and Vianca Soto, 20, came out of their bedrooms when they heard the commotion downstairs. From the top of the stairs, Yazmin Soto said she saw her brother surrounded by a number of shadowy figures.
"I heard punching, and it was so crazy, because it sounded like movie punching," she said. "It didn't sound real."
At some point near the end of the skirmish, Carlos Soto was shot just above his right knee, he said. He didn't realize he had sustained a gunshot wound until he felt numbness when he tried to chase the intruders out the front door, he said.
Meanwhile, Yazmin Soto pulled her sister into her second-story bedroom, opened her window, dislodged the screen and started to go out onto the roof of the garage in an attempt to get out of the house, she said. At that point, they saw the intruders leaving their driveway in a car.
"It was probably the scariest thing I've ever experienced," Yazmin Soto said.
Both sisters praised their brother for his heroic actions.
"I'm very happy that my brother was very brave and protected us," Vianca Soto said. "That was his only thought, protecting his sisters and our mom."
Carlos Soto said he knew his life was in danger.
"They could have easily killed me," Soto said. "I could have easily been dead, but I had to fight for my mom, my dad and my sisters, and God was on my side. I fought for my family, and God helped."
Soto was taken to a hospital, where he was treated for a non-life-threatening injury and then released.
Shortly after 6:30 a.m., police spotted the assailants driving near East Swain Road and Tam O'Shanter Drive. Police pursued the vehicle to North Oro Avenue and East Myrtle Street, where three men and one woman attempted to flee on foot, officers said.
The female suspect, 21-year-old Nate Alhaja Jackson of Stockton, gave up quickly and was taken into custody without incident, police said. She was arrested on suspicion of driving with a suspended license, hit-and-run resulting in property damage, resisting arrest and other traffic infractions, the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office said. She was also arrested for two felony warrants and one misdemeanor warrant, the Sheriff's Office said.
Police officers and sheriff's deputies deployed canines to locate the three male assailants, who were all found hiding in different locations, authorities said. All three were taken to a hospital for treatment of dog bites before being booked into the San Joaquin County Jail.
James Goodman, 27, Lee Edwards Haggerty, 30, and Christopher Perkins, 22, all of Oakland, were arrested on suspicion of numerous crimes, including robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, conspiracy and resisting arrest with gang enhancements, authorities said.