Daughter gets justice in father’s shooting

Photo Courtesy of City of Hayward

Sean McCarthy,
Staff Writer

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On March 15, eleven-year old Sarah Avalos and her family traveled to Hayward to purchase a new vehicle from an online seller. The family decided to meet the seller at Ochoa Middle School since they were new to the area. Sarah would soon learn that the seller was a “career criminal” who wanted to rob the family instead of sell his car.

The events that unfolded would earn Sarah, now 12, the Hayward Good Citizen Award. Acting Hayward Police Chief Koller presented the award to Sarah last month, for helping to apprehend the man who shot her father and held up her family. She is the first person in the last 20 years to receive this prestigious award, according to Lisa Amin Gulezian of ABC 7 News.

At the middle school parking lot on the afternoon of March 15, the criminal took a gun out, pointed it at Sarah’s father Benjamin Avalos and demanded his money. Avalos did not have any cash on him because he had planned to go to the bank if the car looked good enough to buy. This upset the criminal, who then threatened to kill the family. Benjamin sped off but was shot in the arm and through the chest as he fled the scene.

Sarah called 911 and proceeded to tell the operator where they were by using streets signs as they passed them. Although the Avalos family was unfamiliar with Hayward, Sarah made it possible for first responders to find the family.

At the scene, police officer Maloney asked Sarah where she learned to dial 911 and answer the questions clearly, to which she replied, “I learned it at school.”

Kohler said Sarah is responsible for saving her father’s life that night. The criminal has since been identified and arrested due to Sarah’s quick action in a moment of extreme duress.

Avalos took the front of the stage last month with her father to receive the award and those in attendance greeted her with a standing ovation. The award is given to those who show “courage, calm and bravery under extraordinary circumstances,” said Koller.