Wildcat basketball star becomes hero facing a drawn, cocked gun

“My first thought was how do I get him out of our house,” said Cody Sullivan about the intruder pointing a gun at them.

In too many police action dramas and movies, we have watched scenes of the armed gunman threatening an innocent victim who is pleading, “No, No, No.”

For Cherie Sullivan, that scene became reality after Charles Bruener, Jr. brandished a firearm in her face.

“I opened the door and the guy said there was an accident and he needed help,” she explained. “I told him I was EMS and I would get my radio and help him out.”

She never got to make that call for help as Bruener pulled his pistol out and started in the door, according to her.

“I tried to push the door closed on him but he pushed his way inside. He pointed the gun at Cody and me. I started backing towards the kitchen and he kept yelling to give him keys. I told him no,” she said.

At that point with a gun pointed at his stepmom, Cody stepped up and began to control the situation.

“I knew Cherie was trying to fend him off and he was getting agitated, so I thought one of us has to remain calm in the situation,” explained the 17-year-old who went into his room to get the keys to his truck.

While Cody was gone, Cherie was hit in the head by Bruener with either his hand or the gun, she was not sure which.

Cody, who would not have been home  but rather at practice if the Wildcats had beaten Paris in the first round of the 10th Region tournament, returned from his room with his keys.

According to Cherie who two weeks ago was in the ambulance that was hit head-on by a car which came across the center line on US 27, Bruener asked which truck and Cody pointed out it was “the beige one and has a tank full of fuel.”

He would leave and later wreck the truck while continuing to flee from police.

“Cody is my hero,” Cherie said. “He stayed calm and very level-headed throughout the whole situation. His quick thinking of going and getting his keys, giving them  to they guy and telling him to get out, got me out of harms way.”

Cody’s actions was not surprising to his basketball coach.

“The unfortunate situation was terrifying. However, when I heard how Cody handled it, I wasn’t all that surprised. He’s been able to handle adversity his entire life,” said Keaton Belcher.

For Cody, he traces that back to how he was raised by his father, Wes, and mother, Sarah, who lost her life unexpectedly when Cody was in middle school.

“I think it was just natural instinct from the way I was raised,” said Cody.

For dad, the pride was evident. “He handled himself like a mature young man. We are all extremely proud of him and the courage he had to stay calm and handle the situation. I think his actions kept them both alive. He’s a wonderful young man and a hero in everyone’s eyes.”

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