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Man killed in home invasion hailed as 'hero' for shielding 3-year-old from gunmen

'I believe he saved my son's life with his own'
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Posted at 7:13 AM, Sep 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-25 17:52:01-04

SPRINGDALE, Ohio — A man shot to death in a home invasion is being hailed as a hero for shielding a 3-year-old from the gunmen.

“Please mention he was a hero. I believe he saved my son's life with his own,” Desmon Sayles’s godsister told WCPO Wednesday.

Court documents say one of the three intruders picked up the boy and held him at gunpoint Tuesday. Seconds later, that gunman fired, killing the 21-year-old Sayles.

Alexis Steward said her 3-year-old is “traumatized."

“He keeps saying, 'They shot Dez behind me, Mommy,’ “ Steward said.

Steward said Sayles was a gentle giant who loved kids.

Police say they arrested one of the gunmen but they believe the shooter is still on the loose.

The three men barged into an apartment at the Willows of Springdale at 1122 Chesterdale Drive just before noon, apparently looking for someone who wasn't home. Three adults were in the apartment.

When Sayles came out of the bathroom, they shot him in the chest.

Calls to 911 reveal the effort to save Sayles' life. The dispatcher gave two adult witnesses step-by-step instructions to stop the bleeding.

One of the suspects, 19-year-old Travone Lamon Thomas, was arrested at a West Chester hotel and charged with aggravated murder. The other two suspects have not been identified or arrested.

Thomas, known as Tra, got a $100,000 bond in court Wednesday.

Thomas and the other two said they wanted pot and money during the home invasion, according to court documents.

Thomas was the only suspect the victims recognized.