In Dec. 2008 Gloria Williams dialed 911 in West Palm Beach (Fla.) to say that her daughter’s ex-boyfriend was in violation of a restraining order by coming to their apartment, and that he was threatening them with a gun.
Daughter Laronda Becker came on the phone, and within 4 minutes Reginald Johnson forced his way into the room and shot Becker to death, and then shot himself (not fatally). Listen to the timing and content of the call taker's questions.
Once investigators left the scene, someone entered the home from the rear balcony and stole Christmas presents that were neatly laid out for Becker's children, who are 2 and 3 years old.
The firetrucks and patrol cars snaked quietly down the street with emergency lights ablaze. They surrounded the house and a curious crowd gathered. A few officers walked up the driveway. A hush settled.
A moment later the two children emerged, surrounded by shocked family members. Nearly 100 people were waiting in the road.
"Merry Christmas!" they shouted in unison.
Last week the children, Reggie, 3, and Ariel, 2, watched their father grab their mother and shoot her to death, authorities say. Two days later, someone stole the last Christmas presents she would ever give them, right out from under the tree.
On Christmas Eve, a community came to their door in suburban West Palm Beach to make sure things started to look a little brighter for the children of Laronda Becker.
A trailer was opened and Santa popped out. Surrounding him were dozens of wrapped presents. There was a scooter, a bike, hot meals for dinner.
Officials from the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office and the county fire-rescue department were moved by the children's tragedy. They spent several days hitting up local stores and individuals for donations.
"We wanted to show them that not everyone in the world is evil, and not everyone wants to take something from somebody," said sheriff's deputy Sean Lutz, one of the event's organizers.
They ended up with a massive haul. And then they organized a covert plan.
A family member sworn to secrecy confirmed they would be at home Wednesday afternoon. A few blocks away, a long line of sheriff's cars and fire engines amassed, along with the local news media.
When they received the go-ahead, everyone moved down the road. They surrounded the house and knocked on the door.
Shirley Richards, the children's grandmother, who was with the children in the bedroom when their mother was killed, walked to the front of her house Wednesday afternoon and gasped when she saw the crowd.
"It's shocking," she said later. "So many people."
Family members wept as a stream of people unloaded the gifts and brought them to the garage.