One of the victims from a Friday morning hostage situation told Channel 8 conversing with her attackers might have saved her and her grandmother's life.
"I would ask like, 'Oh, are you from around here?' Like, 'Oh, you're from Long Beach, California? I'm from Berkeley, California.' Like, 'How's your day been going," said Taylor Wolf, 18. She said she used conversation to prevent her attackers from getting angry and violent.
Wolf said two men pointed guns at her grandmother, Carmanita Hughes, early Friday morning in her garage and then held the women hostage for two hours in their home. The men stole their cell phones, televisions, and more. They eventually forced the women to drive them to an ATM for cash. The thieves eventually drove off in Hughes' car. Neither Wolf nor Hughes were harmed.
Police said complying with the suspects' demands was key to staying safe.
Channel 8 asked a self-defense expert what others in similar situations could do to protect themselves. The owner of the Academy of Self-Defense, Ray Hildreth, said each situation is different.
"You have to know your limitations," Hildreth said.
He said in this case, if the women felt safe doing so, they could have used weapons like guns or pepper spray to protect themselves. He said they could also have rolled down their car windows during the drive to the ATM to shout for help.
Wolf said she did not feel safe running away because she felt compelled to stay with her grandmother.
Hughes' car was found abandoned at Taco Bell on 51st. Police are continuing to search for the two suspects.
Hildreth said self-defense classes are a great idea for anyone looking to protect themselves in these kinds of situations. To sign up for Hildreth's classes, you may call (918) 664-8202 or visit his website.