An Indianapolis family which endured a violent armed robbery in 2013 has spoken out following the conviction of four of the six perpetrators.
The Portenzas were asleep at their family home at 5 a.m. on October 29, 2013, when six gunmen entered the house and woke parents Carl and Eileen to demand money.
"The overhead light comes on over our bed," Carl told WTHR. "I saw two men standing at the end of the bed wielding guns.”
While Carl was ordered to stay in bed and was guarded at gun point, the men demanded Eileen go in search of money.
“As Mama Bear, I was thinking 'I've got to do something to save our family'," Eileen said to WTHR.
She tried to run for the phone to call the police, but one of the gunman shot her in the leg. After they ransacked the house and found little of value, the gunmen demanded that Eileen drive to an ATM to get cash.
“I thought I should not be getting into the car and I had a moment where he turned away and I ran for a neighbor's house,” Eileen explained.
Unfortunately, she tripped, and another gunman shot her in the foot.
After Eileen had been sexually assaulted, the gunmen forced her to drive to a bank machine. While she was away, the men also sexually assaulted Eileen’s 26-year-old daughter Alli.
After Eileen returned with the money, the men fled in the family’s three cars.
"Things like this don't have to define you," Eileen says. "And they won't. Those are almost fighting words for me. We will get through this and we will make something better out of it and I think that's how you triumph over tragedy."
This fight began as soon as they were in hospital.
"People came in with very serious faces," Eileen recalled. "I think they thought we would be destroyed by this and were relieved to see we weren’t.”
"It was fun," Alli says of her stay in hospital. "I know that sounds crazy, but I was surrounded by the people I love.”
The family defiantly returned to their home, inspired by a remark from a police advocate: “Don’t let them win.”
Relatives, friends and even strangers helped pay to have the damage caused in the robbery repaired.
“We had two hours of hell, but after that, it has been months and months of kindness,” Carl said.