‘Hero’ father who thwarted alleged attempted kidnapping speaks out
The father who thwarted the alleged attempted kidnapping of his daughter, and an attempted burglary of his home, said he is left reeling and praying for “peace of mind” after learning the extent of what authorities described as an elaborate plot devised by four armed teenagers.
“I’ve searched and I’ve prayed for peace of mind over this situation, and to get my sense of security back in my home,” Terry Brackney of Baker, Florida, said in an exclusive interview with “Good Morning America.”
Brackney, 51, added that his daughter, Amber Brackney, 17, who was the alleged target of the foiled kidnapping, has not returned to school since the incident.
On Nov. 7, four armed teenagers who had “concocted a plan to kidnap the teenage daughter” and then rob the Brackney family home were taken into custody by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO), the office said in a statement.
The teens were armed with a knife and guns, authorities said.
“The goal was to first force her out of her car by blocking the road with barrels and garbage cans,” the OCSO said per the results of their investigation, adding that Amber simply drove around the blockade and did not exit her vehicle. “They then planned to head to her house, confront and subdue her father — who they believed to be wealthy — and rob the home.”
Brackney said he was at home waiting for Amber to return from her job as a waitress when the attempt occurred.
“She called me to tell me someone had put barrels in the middle of the road and blocked it and I told her, ‘Well, they weren’t there when I came home so just drive around them,'” he recalled.
Brackney said he grew alarmed later in the evening, after Amber went to sleep, when his dogs started barking continuously and a motion sensor outdoor light turned on.
“The dogs seemed to be barking towards the garage,” he said, adding he took his gun with him when he went outside to look.
He told ABC News that when he stepped outside he spotted two people attempting to break into his garage.
“That’s when I yelled at them and fired three shots with my glock, and they took off running,” he said. “It was at that point that I went back in my house and called 911.”
Brackney said that when authorities arrived at the scene and uncovered the weapons, he began to realize the magnitude of the situation.
“At that point is when I got scared, because I knew then that what was going to happen wasn’t going to end up pretty had they ended up in my home,” he said.
Brackney said that he was shocked to eventually find out that he knew two of the teens allegedly involved.
“Saturday night, Amber and I were eating supper, and we really haven’t talked that much about this, but I told her at supper Saturday night, I said, ‘You know, had these individuals made it inside our house,’…I said, ‘Today would have probably been our funerals.'”
Brackney told ABC News that he had no idea why the teens thought he was a wealthy man or targeted him.
“I own a funeral home and a clothing store here in town,” he said. “The community has been very good to me over the years, and I lead a secluded life, or I did up until this point.”
Amber told ABC News that she considers her father a “hero” for his actions that night.
“I’m very grateful for my dad,” she told ABC News. “I don’t really have a mom in my life, so my dad is my hero, you could say.”
The high school student added that she was shocked to find out that one of the alleged perpetrators had been a friend “since elementary school.”
“I can even remember him coming over to my house and playing as a little child,” she said, adding that they have since “grown apart,” but she still never expected something like this.
“I see these kids every day walking down the hallway,” she said. “I never expected them to try to attempt to kidnap me and harm me and do such a thing to my family.”
Amber said she felt uneasy as soon as she saw the barrels on the road as she drove home.
“I automatically thought this is something that would happen in a scary movie,” she said. “So I called my dad and told him, and asked him if the barrels were there when he got home, and had said, ‘No,’ and then I really got scared.”
Amber added that she is “thankful” to be alive, but remains incredibly shaken by the incident.
“I’m scared to sleep in my own bedroom, I’m scared to go to my own school,” she said. “That shouldn’t be a thing. We’re a small town.”
The teens allegedly involved in the foiled plot, identified by the sheriff’s office as Keilon Johnson, 19, Austin French, 17, Tyree Johnson, 16, and Kamauri Horn, 15, were armed with a knife and guns, according to OCSO. The sheriff’s office added that “latex gloves, facial masks and dark clothing” were found in their car.
All four teenagers were charged with attempted kidnapping and attempted home invasion robbery, according to the OCSO. All four teens, including the juveniles, are being charged as adults, according to the Florida state’s attorney’s office.
None of the four have entered a plea and none have made bond, and they are all expected to be arraigned in about 2.5 weeks, according to the state’s attorney’s office.