Fact Check

Is the '11 Yr Old Who Shot Illegals' Story True?

According to Facebook posts, an 11-year-old girl named Patricia Harrington was home alone when two armed "illegal aliens" broke in to her Montana home.

Published June 21, 2022

A Facebook post began with the words Montana girl and said 11 YR OLD WHO SHOT ILLEGALS and thanks FOX NEWS for reporting it. (Catherine McQueen (Getty Images))
A Facebook post began with the words Montana girl and said 11 YR OLD WHO SHOT ILLEGALS and thanks FOX NEWS for reporting it. (Image Via Catherine McQueen (Getty Images))
An 11-year-old Montana girl named Patricia Harrington stopped a home invasion by shooting and killing two armed undocumented immigrants named Ralphel Resindez and Enrico Garza, and Fox News reported on the story.

There's no evidence that this ever happened. We found no record of Fox News having reported the story. It also didn't show up in any newspaper archives or historical records of any kind.

Fact Check

"Montana Girl, 11 YR OLD WHO SHOT ILLEGALS. Thanks FOX NEWS for reporting it." These were the words that began an old and fake internet story that received a new wave of shares in June 2022.

The supposed news was copied and pasted on Facebook and Twitter. We refer to these kinds of posts as copypasta. One of our readers told us that they received the story as part of an email forward. We also found evidence that the story was being shared on former U.S. President Donald Trump's social media platform, Truth Social.

The fake story claimed that an 11-year-old Montana girl named Patricia Harrington stopped a home invasion while home alone by shooting and killing two immigrants who had entered the U.S. illegally named Ralphel Resindez and Enrico Garza. It also falsely claimed that Fox News reported the news and that NBC News, CBS News, PBS, MSNBC, CNN, and ABC News seemingly ignored it.

The Fake Story

The post read as follows:

Montana Girl
11 YR OLD WHO SHOT ILLEGALS. Thanks FOX NEWS for reporting it.

A Shotgun-armed Preteen vs. Illegal Alien Home Invaders.

Two illegal aliens, Ralphel Resindez, 23, and Enrico Garza, 26, probably believed they would easily overpower home-alone 11-year-old Patricia Harrington after her father had left their two-story home.

It seems these crooks never learned two things:

1. They were in Montana.

2. Patricia had been a clay-shooting champion since she was nine.

Patricia was in her upstairs room when the two men broke through the front door of the house. She quickly ran to her father's room and grabbed his 12-gauge Mossberg 500 shotgun.

Resindez was the first to get up to the second floor, only to be the first to catch a near point blank blast of buckshot from the 11-year-old's knee-crouch aim. He suffered fatal wounds to his abdomen and genitals.

When Garza ran to the foot of the stairs, he took a blast to the left shoulder and staggered out into the street where he bled to death before medical help could arrive. It was found out later that Resindez was armed with a stolen 45-caliber handgun he took during another home invasion robbery. That victim, 50-year-old David 0'Burien, was not so lucky. He died from stab wounds to the chest.

Ever wonder why good stuff never makes NBC, CBS, PBS, MSNBC, CNN, or ABC news? An 11-year-old girl, properly trained, defended her home, and herself against two murderous, illegal immigrants and she won.

She is still alive. Now THAT is Gun Control!

Thought for the day: Calling an illegal alien an 'undocumented immigrant' is like calling a drug dealer an 'unlicensed pharmacist'


15 Years Later

As we previously reported in 2007, there's no evidence that this ever happened. We looked in newspaper archives and other historical records and found nothing. Further, there's no record of Fox News ever having reported the story.

For some perspective as to just how long ago 2007 was, we filed our previous fact check about the fake story when former U.S. President George W. Bush was serving his second term in the White House. At the time, the first iPhone was still about two months away from being released.

Somehow, the fake story still received the new wave of shares more than 15 years later, despite the fact that it had been debunked in articles that were published by multiple credible news organizations. Such articles can be found in seconds with a simple Google search.

Why It Returned in June 2022

Why was the old and fake story about the 11-year-old girl shooting "illegal aliens" shared so many times in June 2022? The explanation appeared to be related to recent news. At the time, the debate over the role of guns in American society had been revived following several deadly mass shootings.

The new wave of shares also came amid the news of a bill that would increase gun control measures. We found Facebook posts from June 2022 that copied and pasted the fake story, adding various introductions that appeared to attempt to use the false tale to justify being against the idea of increasing gun control measures.

In sum, no, the "11 YR OLD WHO SHOT ILLEGALS" copypasta that's going around on social media was not a real story, nor did Fox News report about it.

Note: Some past versions of the fake story about the 11-year-old girl claimed that the crime happened specifically in the city of Butte, Montana. This also was false.


Freking, Kevin. “House Passes Gun Control Bill after Buffalo, Uvalde Attacks.” AP News, 8 June 2022, https://apnews.com/article/congress-texas-buffalo-new-york-shootings-0d552cfe6c5a4fb8c83a151ea29d467f.

Mikkelson, David. “Did an 11-Year-Old Girl Shoot and Kill ‘Illegal Aliens’ Burglarizing Her Home?” Snopes.com, 2 May 2007, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/home-invasion-thwarted/.

Montgomery, April, and Ken Mingis. “The Evolution of Apple’s IPhone.” Computerworld, 23 Sept. 2021, https://www.computerworld.com/article/2604020/the-evolution-of-apples-iphone.html.

Jordan Liles is a Senior Reporter who has been with Snopes since 2016.