Isabell Hoffman, 16, woke up about 3 a.m. Thursday to an unknown man falling on her bed.
Acting quickly, she grabbed a pocket knife from her nightstand and pulled it on the intruder. After chasing him off, she went to find her parents, said Isabell’s mother, Jessica Hoffman.
“My daughter, you know, finally flipped our lights on ... holding her knife, white as a ghost and saying, ‘There was a man in our room,’ ” she said.
Jessica Hoffman called the police.
The man — alleged by police to be Ricky E. Herrera, 26, of Burley — was in the Canyon County Jail on Thursday on charges of unlawful entry, malicious injury to property and possession of a controlled substance. He also is charged with a parole violation, according to Caldwell authorities.
Herrera’s bond was set at $75,000, and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 20.
Caldwell police say he was arrested after a foot chase that included him breaking into the Hoffmans’ home.
Sgt. Joey Hoadley commended Isabell Hoffman’s actions and said the department is looking for a way to recognize her.
“I was pretty impressed. Considering the circumstances, she did what she had to do. That’s a scary situation,” he said. “That’s a heroic move.”
Officers were sent to the area of Washington and Ustick at about 1:50 a.m. after a caller described a man wearing black clothes and carrying a backpack. The caller worried that the man was breaking into cars, police say.
A second witness at the scene said he thought the man was Herrera, who had a warrant out for a felony parole violation. That witness pointed police to a home in the 4100 block of South Washington. Officers visited the home, at which point police say Herrera fled out a back window into an area with a canal and dense vegetation.
Police set up a perimeter and started to search for Herrera. Meanwhile, the Hoffmans, who live on a nearby street, called dispatchers to say that a man had broken into their daughter’s bedroom.
Herrera asked Isabell Hoffman to let him stay in the home for cover until police left the scene, Jessica Hoffman said.
“Evidently he had stumbled over some of the stuff she had on the floor and fell on the bed ... and she, you know, got up, locked the door ... to prevent him from getting throughout the rest of the house, and she was like, ‘No. Get out or I’m going to stab you,’ ” Jessica Hoffman said.
The man then fled, Jessica Hoffman said.
After Herrera left that home, police say, officers found him and arrested him after one more short chase.
Jessica Hoffman, who also has a 13-year-old daughter, said she and her husband have worked to prepare their daughters to protect themselves.
“Now we’re going to think about some self-defense classes and actually go out and see if we can’t learn how to use a gun. More of a self-protection-type thing,” she said. “I don’t think I’ll let her keep a gun in her room, though, (but) the knife I’m happy with.”
Herrera had methamphetamine on him at the time of his arrest, police said.
The Idaho Department of Correction lists Herrera as a fugitive. According to its records, he was serving two sentences for grand theft and burglary out of Canyon County that would have ended March 21, 2017. Those convictions from 2009 were part of a plea deal that amended two initial charges of robbery, according to online court records.
It’s not fully clear from court records when Herrera was paroled, but his original sentence called for eight years in prison with three before he was eligible for release.