As reporters, we do A LOT of waiting. Today I was waiting for information from police on a carjacking in South Richmond. My photographer, David Brakke and I, were tired of sitting in the office and decided to scope out the scene of the crime ourselves. We got some video and started asking people in the neighborhood if they’d heard about a horrible incident last night. Most of the neighbors had no idea and were shocked. Two women were getting in a car when I stopped them to ask if they too had heard about this terrible crime. One of the woman looked me in the eyes and said, “Yes, I know about it. It happened to my friend.” She pointed to a timid woman sitting in the car beside her. I was shocked. And I immediately felt horrible for asking her if she knew about it. People often accuse the media of being insensitive. I can assure you, that is never my intention. And, this woman was gracious and wanted to tell me what happened.
She told me about parking her car and getting out when a man with a gun forced her back inside. She cried while explaining how this man threatened to kill her over and over for three hours. She cried when she thought about how she almost died over $40. She told me how she had seen stories like this on the news and read about in the papers, but never thought it could happen to her. She told me how she only looked at her assailant twice because he threatened to shoot her if she turned her head. She drove and drove and drove… in circles, in alleys. He made her call friends and beg for money to save her life. Eventually, the car was almost out of gas and he let her out. But not without taking her identification and cell phone. He threatened to come back and kill her if she called police. He threatened her family. And she wanted me to share this story with you. She wants apartment managers to take better care of lighting the parking lots. She wants you to be aware of your surroundings when you are getting out of your car. She never wants this to happen to anyone else.
I talk to a lot of people in this business and I’ve seen a lot of horrible things. And I can say with certainty tonight, she is one of the bravest I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.
**Side note** According to Richmond Police crime is actually down 22 percent in the 3rd precinct. Last week, they made an arrest in 6 robberies and 2 attempted robberies. If you have any information on this crime you think might help police give them a call at CrimeStoppers. 804-780-1000