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Burnsville father called hero after saving his kids from carjacker: "I'm a dad doing dad things"

Burnsville father saves four kids from carjacker
Burnsville father saves four kids from carjacker 02:17

BURNSVILLE, Minn. -- A Burnsville father is being called a hero after saving his kids from a carjacker. Derek Gotchie chased down his stolen SUV that had his four children inside, all of them under the age of five.

Derek Gotchie was on the 800 Block of Russel Avenue North dropping gifts off to a friend.

His wife, Deanah, had taken the last item out and asked him to shut the trunk to keep their four kids inside warm.

"I'm shutting the trunk this guy jumps out of this taxi minivan, runs to my truck. I run to the door of my truck and I try and open it and he just takes off," said Derek Gotchie.

The minivan left behind was also stolen. Derek Gotchie says his Dad instincts took over.

"I saw my truck heading down the road and I noticed the van is still on the road and it's running and the door is wide open and my first thought was I'm jumping in this van and I'm going to get my kids," said Derek Gotchie.

Within a few blocks, near Penn and Plymouth Avenues North, Gotchie caught up with the carjacker driving his SUV.

"We were heading down the wrong way of a one way and there was a vehicle coming towards us so he pulled off behind parked vehicles to let that car by and as soon as he turned sideways to get around the parked vehicle I just rammed the back of my truck trying to pin him against a fence," Derek Gotchie said.

The suspected carjacker jumped out and ran.

"I ran up, I checked on the kids, I looked at him and he is halfway across the parking lot and he is just yelling, 'I'm sorry,'" Derek Gotchie said.

The kids were okay. The family SUV was damaged but repairable.

Eventually, Deanah made it to the scene and police were the first to tell her what happened.

"First thing I said, "Did you find my kids,' and they said, 'Your husband did,'" said Deanah Gotchie.

Deanah was not surprised by her husband's actions. She and others call him a hero, Derek says.

"[I'm] not really a hero, I'm a dad doing dad things. My kids, they are coming home with me no matter what," Derek Gotchie said.

Police are still searching for the carjacking suspect but tell WCCO they were able to pull fingerprints off the stolen SUV. They say not only is that person facing possible carjacking charges, but he is also looking at possible kidnapping charges as well.

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