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Guatemalan immigrant gives life to stop home invasion in Washington, D.C.

May 20, 2010 | 12:37 pm

In the bitter debate over immigration reform in the United States, the everyday people who live and work at the crossroads of the issue are often overlooked or forgotten. Which is why the story of Jose Rosales, an immigrant from Guatemala, is so deserving of our attention.

Gunmen shot and killed Rosales on Monday during a home invasion attempt at the residence where he worked as a handyman in a suburb of Washington, D.C. The Washington Post reports that as two men entered the garage of the Brar family home, Rosales stood between the attackers and his employers and said: "Get away from my brother and my mom."

Rosales wrestled a weapon away from one of the attackers, and when the other turned his gun on the Brar matriarch, Rosales released the gun he had nabbed. The attackers then killed him and fled the scene.

"He is a hero," said a police officer in Fairfax County, Va. Speaking to a local newscast, a family member said: "The world needs more people like Jose Rosales."

Rosales, 39, was a devout Christian and accomplished guitar player. He sent money regularly to Guatemala to help his two sons and ailing mother, and told friends that he one day wished to return to Guatemala to build a home and resume his family's tradition of farming.

Jose Rosales, who lived in the U.S. for eight years, will now be returned to Guatemala for burial.

-- Daniel Hernandez in Mexico City