PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (WFLA) – A quick-thinking Florida homeowner is being credited with saving his girlfriend from a violent home invader.
Hearing a knock on her front door, Christina Robles answered to find 17-year-old Matthew Cleveland, who asked for the location of a Largo park.
When she didn’t know where it was, cops say Cleveland forced his way in, grabbed Robles by the throat and slammed her head against the wall.
Roble’s boyfriend, Alexander McMaster, awakened upstairs by her screams, rushed to help.
“His natural reaction, seeing his girlfriend in danger and obviously a threat of what was going on, and [he] acted,” said Sgt. Michael Lynch of the Pinellas Park Police Department.
McMaster grabbed an ax kept near the door and used it to keep Cleveland from getting away.
Moments before, a neighbor, who asked we not identify her, saw Cleveland as she cleaned out her garage.
“So I looked at him and be like, ‘what are you doing here?’ ‘Cause I didn’t recognize him, and as soon as he saw me, then he turned around and walked the other direction and I thought that was really odd. I thought he was casing my garage,” said the neighbor.
Pinellas Park police report that Cleveland, a senior at Richard Sanders School, left class and walked to the Park Place neighborhood and wandered a bit before knocking on the condo door.
“It is certainly disheartening that a 17-year-old, who you expect to be in the prime of their life in school and enjoying that, is now out, ya know, in a neighborhood doing this type of thing,” said Sgt. Lynch.
He said Cleveland offered no explanation for his actions and did not appear to be on drugs or alcohol.
This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.