DENVER – “A good neighbor is a fellow who smiles at you over the back fence, but doesn’t climb over it.” So goes the saying from American writer Arthur Baer.
But for a Denver couple, their neighbor did much more than climb over the fence; he was shot trying to stop a group of men stealing from their home.
On Sunday in Denver’s Berkeley neighborhood, Craig Sandoval watched as a band of thieves looted the home and garage of his neighbor, Veronica Lamaak, while she was out on a food run.
When Lamaak came back, she found her house trashed and police cars in the alley.
Police say the men had broken into her house and burglarized it, then tried to make off with the stolen items in a box truck – until Sandoval stopped them.
“He told them, ‘You need to get out of here,’ and they shot him twice,” Lamaak said.
Sandoval was shot with a sawed-off shotgun. He has already undergone two surgeries and remains in the intensive care unit. But Lamaak said he is slowly improving.
“It’s hard not to feel guilty and like it’s my fault that my neighbor was shot because they were here trying to steal from me,” she said. “Who knows how long he’s not going to be working, and that just breaks my heart.”
So with Sandoval’s medical bills mounting, she is trying to help him and his family just as he helped hers. She has set up a fundraising page to raise money for his medical expenses.
“We just care about our neighbor,” Lamaak said. “I think that’s how you should treat people in your community.”