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Kingman woman armed, ready when trouble came calling

Debbie Sleep held her fire Christmas Day when an intruder barged into her Kingman home while trying to evade deputies from the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office.

Suspect, pursued after Christmas cash was taken from kids, was in harm's way when deputy grabbed her

KINGMAN - A Golden Valley woman was possibly seconds away from being shot to death Christmas Day when a Mohave County Sheriff's deputy saved her life.

But the deputy didn't rescue Amanda Sue Rick from an armed desperado. He kept the fleeing woman from barging all the way into the home of Debbie Sleep, who was inside and armed with a .45 caliber handgun.

Sleep was prepared to fire.

"I had a loaded .45," said Sleep, 47. "If the cop wasn't right behind her, I would have killed her."

The potentially fatal incident began when Rick, 31, allegedly stole $30 from three of her youngest four children at the home of the children's grandparents in the 4300 block of Roosevelt Street in Kingman. With her was her boyfriend, Cruz Alberto Ruvalcaba, 29, also of Golden Valley.

The grandparents had just given each grandchild $10 for Christmas, according to Mohave County Sheriff's spokeswoman Trish Carter. Rick allegedly took the gifts from three of her young children, ostensibly to pay for a motel room for her and Ruvalcaba.

The grandparents called the sheriff's office to report the theft and to say the pair left the home on foot.

Deputies arrived while Rick and Ruvalcaba were about a block away. One of the deputies detained Ruvalcaba while Rick purportedly tried to force her way into Sleep's home.

Sleep said she was in her bedroom at one end of her home while her 14-year-old daughter was in her room on the other end.

They heard a loud knock and saw MCSO patrol vehicles outside. "My daughter said, 'Oh, the cops are here,'" said Sleep. When the daughter opened the door, Sleep said Rick tried to force her way inside.

"My daughter's eyes got real big," said Sleep. "I aimed my .45 and told my daughter to hit the ground when the deputy came up and pulled (Rick) away. I can't remember his name to save my life, but he saved a life that day."

Sleep said she knows who the grandparents are and that they've never met, but they wave at one another on occasion.

"We have a pretty decent street," she said. "Most of my neighbors are elderly and most of my neighbors watch out for one another."

Sleep said Rick was "wild eyed" and appeared to be impaired. Ruvalcaba, she said, was "defensive."

"I asked the deputy if I could speak to her and he said I could," said Sleep. "I said, 'Lady, you don't realize how lucky you are. You were seconds from being dead.'"

Rick and Ruvalcaba were not charged with stealing from Rick's children, who live with their father, but they both had warrants for their arrest.

Once they were placed in custody, deputies reportedly found each was in possession of syringes.

In addition to being charged with felony possession of drug paraphernalia, Rick was arrested on three misdemeanor warrants for failure to pay fines and one misdemeanor warrant for probation violation.

Ruvalcaba was charged with felony possession of drug paraphernalia along with misdemeanor warrants for failure to pay fines and probation violation. Kingman Municipal Court issued the warrants for both of them.

Sleep said she is considering asking Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith to add criminal trespassing charges against Rick, who reportedly told deputies the children voluntarily gave up their $10 so she and Ruvalcaba could get a motel room.

For Sleep, who remained somewhat shaken two days after the incident, it's time to install a peephole.

"We can't see who's at the door," she said. "I need to fix that."

Fortunately, she said, Sleep and her daughter are in the habit of locking their doors whether they're home or not, and she advises other residents to follow her lead.

"My door is always locked and I'm always packing," said Sleep. "I suggest others do the same."

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