MESA, AZ — A Valley woman's home was nearly destroyed by a police standoff this weekend leaving her temporarily homeless and her life covered in dust.
Sajaya Ruddy says she was asleep in her Mesa apartment with her kids when her neighbor's feet were suddenly dangling from her attic into her bedroom.
"He had white socks on his feet were just dangling. I was like 'Oh my God,'" said Ruddy.
Her neighbor, Antwon Wilfred, allegedly shot his girlfriend in the head before barricading himself in the joined roof, and eventually Ruddy's home. During the standoff, Ruddy said Mesa Police Officers used multiple gas canisters to try and smoke Wilfred out, and, in the process, left her apartment destroyed, and nearly everything she owns covered in insulation.
"I can’t even put into words what we lost. Bed, clothes, shoes, everything," said Ruddy. "I'm mad because I didn't do this. I didn't have [any] part in this. My kids are innocent and they should be able to come to a home and we don't have it. We don't have anything."
Ruddy, who was able to escape the apartment with her children and boyfriend before the gas canisters were deployed, said the Mesa Police Department connected her to Angels on Patrol, a nonprofit organization that helped find Ruddy a motel room in the short term, but even that, said Ruddy, was unlivable.
"I turned on the light switch and roaches were scattering. There were roaches on the bed and I just left I wasn’t gonna stay there with my kids," said Ruddy. Currently, she and her family are staying with her sister, but that is a temporary fix for Ruddy.
Monday, maintenance crews began cleaning up her apartment, which they say will take about three days to clean up the floors and fix the walls and ceilings that have mostly been stripped off the foundation. Ruddy has created a GoFundMe asking for financial help while they deal with this difficult time.
Mesa police issued the following statement about the protocol for tenants after barricade situations displace the homeowner.
"There is no standard procedure per se. The Mesa Police Department has partnered with several non-profit organizations that we can utilize when certain situations call for their assistance. In situations like what happened over the weekend, the police department reached out to Angels on Patrol, who then found temporary housing for displaced residents. Ultimately, the building owner would be responsible for damages, but they can seek restitution from the suspect."
Wilford was taken to the hospital for treatment and later transferred to Mesa City Jail. Police interviewed Wilford who reportedly changed his story about what happened a few times.
His girlfriend, who was shot in the head, is still in the hospital and her condition is unknown.