Desperate homeowner shoots intruder as his 911 call is transferred to voicemail (VIDEO)

Authorities say that the suspects involved have a long criminal history. (Photo credit: WTSP)

Authorities say that the suspects involved have a long criminal history. (Photo credit: WTSP)

A Florida homeowner is lucky to be alive after four armed intruders broke into his Port Richey home last week, demanding cash and prescription drugs. The man tried to seek help from local law enforcement, but was forced to shoot one of the intruders as his 911 call was transferred to voice mail, according to a local Fox affiliate.

The homeowner, who was also armed with a shotgun and did not wish to be identified, told authorities that he awakened to the men beating him, but the nightmare didn’t stop there for the man, his wife, stepmother and the couple’s baby, who was asleep just feet from where the attack occurred.

“They pistol-whipped the female and took a weapon and pointed it to the child and said they would kill the child if they don’t get what they want,” authorities said.

The homeowner called 911 in an attempt to obtain help from law enforcement. In the chilling call screams can be heard amidst the chaos before a recording on the other end says, “If this is an emergency, hang up and dial 911.”

Apparently, when the 911 operator attempted to transfer the call from the fire department to local law enforcement, the call inadvertently was transferred to the department’s voice mail instead.

Police were dispatched to the scene three and a half minutes after the original call came in from the homeowner, and authorities claim that the mix-up did not cause a delay in getting help to the home. Nonetheless, the dispatch system is being investigated in hopes that this type of mistake will not happen again.

Three of the suspects are now in custody and have been identified as Joseph Rich, Michael Reverdes and Steven Reverdes, who was shot in the back by the homeowner and still at the scene when officers arrived. The fourth suspect remains at large and authorities did not say whether his identity is known.

Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco added, “These are street thugs. Sixteen hundred bucks, that’s a good day. Anything to get them through the next high.” He also ensured area residents that the act was not random.

“I’m at a loss for words, had to protect my family,” said the homeowner, who acted in self-defense and is not expected to face any charges.