Gunmen threaten to shoot toddlers in home invasion

Orange County deputies search for 2 men

Published On: Apr 11 2012 05:18:48 AM EDT   Updated On: Apr 11 2012 12:53:08 PM EDT
Robbers hold toddlers at gunpoint
PINE HILLS, Fla. -

Orange County deputies are searching for two men who threatened to shoot two children during a home invasion.

Authorities said a family was returning to the Silver Oaks apartments around 9 p.m. Tuesday when two masked men forced their way into their home.  The apartments are gated, but residents say it often remains open.

Once inside, the two men, who had handguns and were wearing bandanas over their faces, forced the family, including a 3- and 4-year-old, into a back bedroom and demanded cash, according to deputies.

At one point, one of the assailants threatened to shoot the two children if they wouldn't stop crying, deputies said.

The masked men stole cellphones and an undisclosed amount of money from the family. 

The assailants were seen leaving the area in a turquoise sedan. Deputies said when the assailants are caught, they could face charges of child abuse for threatening to kill the children.

"These (thieves) are cowards to take toddlers, point guns at them and threaten to kill them because they are crying and scared," said Spike Hopkins of the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

Neighbors said there is usually an officer patrolling 90 percent of the time but the officer was not there at that time. The incident has pushed some residents to consider relocating.

"You could say I feel unsafe," said resident William Bunn, who says his family will be moving.

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