"Don't let them win," a victim's advocate from the Indianapolis Police Department told the family
What started out as a peaceful morning turned into a nightmare that would change the Potenza family forever.
In the early hour of 5 a.m. on October 29, 2013, six armed men entered their Indianapolis, Indiana, home and viciously attacked the family, according to WTHR.
A year and half later, parents Carl and Eileen Potenza and their daughters Alli and Rachel are speaking out about that fearful night and how they got through it as a family.
The men came into their house through an unlocked garage door and went upstairs to the master bedroom.
“The overhead light comes on over our bed,” Carl told the news outlet. “I saw two men standing at the end of the bed wielding guns.”
One of the men ordered his wife Ellen to take him to a cash machine to withdraw money, but when she tried to get away, she was shot, kicked in the head and endured sexual assault.
Her daughter Ali, 26, suffered a gang-style attack.
Miraculously, they didn’t just survive the invasion – they came out stronger.
“This happened for a reason,” Alli told the outlet. “I want to make something out of it.”
Two months after the attack, the family was asked to deliver the Christmas Eve message at their church, St. Luke’s United Methodist.
In their speech, titled “No Fear,” they said that despite the violence they endured, they felt serene.
“I just felt a sense of peace the entire time,” Eileen said, according to WTHR. Although Carl expected he would feel fear, he felt calm, and Alli also said she wasn’t afraid.
“I was just protected somehow during that whole experience,” she says.
Family, friends and strangers helped raise money to rebuild the damaged to their home.
Alli got involved in social work and volunteering and now tutors children.
“I want to help people who could be involved in these kinds of acts later in life,” Alli said. “I feel like getting to kids at a really young age when they are still impressionable.”
Since that morning in October, four of the six men were found guilty of breaking into their home, according to WTHR.
Michael Pugh, Demetre Brown and Alexander Dupree were each sentenced to 248 years in prison, and Adrian Anthony received 318. One took a plea agreement to testify against the others, and the sixth has yet to be tried.
“We had two hours of hell, but after that, it has been months and months of kindness,” Carl says.