‘All of a sudden the gun came up’: This is what it’s like to be carjacked

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) – Just like last year, our community is going through a rash of carjackings—and the people stealing the cars at gunpoint are young.

We’ve often wondered what that experience must be like and what it does to the victims.

Here’s a story of a man who had a gun pointed at him.

It was a routine day in May for Dave Stafford. He was at a friend’s house near the back side of Holy Sepulchre cemetery. Standing in the driveway, Stafford said he noticed two young people down the street.

"The minute they see us their heads just snapped," he said.

Stafford said the pair walked up the driveway and asked for the time.

"I said it’s a little after 5:30 and all of a sudden the gun came up and ‘I want this car in the driveway! I want it right now! Just give me the car! Give me the keys!’" he said.

Stafford says his friend lunged at the person holding the gun and they started fighting.

Then, Stafford started fighting with the other suspect who tripped Stafford to the ground.

"All of a sudden I turn back to the right and there’s a shovel," he said. "I said that’s it—take the car. It’s my car. Get off the guy. Get off and take it. Seconds later, right there, grabbed [the keys] out of my hand, threw the shovel, yelled to the other suspect ‘get in the car!’ And that was it."

"From the time they asked you what time it was to the moment they’re driving away with your car, how long does that take?" I asked.

"It’s actually longer telling the story," Stafford said. "I bet you not even 35 seconds."

Stafford’s car was found damaged from a crash the next day.

In an email about the carjacking, RPD wrote "Officers attempted to stop the vehicle and it fled from them. A short vehicle pursuit occurred and ended in the Eastman Reserve Apartments (Eastman Avenue) when the two suspects ran from the vehicle. Officers chased them and took both into custody."

Two people were arrested including a 15-year-old boy and a 20-year-old woman.

During the carjacking, Stafford says adrenaline overpowered his fear. But then, as he’s under attack, he remembered his friend Richard Sciascia who was murdered during a carjacking in Gates last year.

"And that was it. That’s when I went to the keys and said ‘here,’" he said.

"As with most things people say — that’s not going to happen to me. And you probably thought that to some degree," I said. "But it did happen to you."

"All of a sudden now, I’m at higher alert. I’m actually more aware of what’s going on around me," he said. "But the main thing is, anybody out there, you hate to say it but with the summer coming you got to give up your car."

RPD says the 15-year-old was given a ticket for Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the 4th Degree (E Felony) and Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle in the 3rd Degree (A Misdemeanor) and released to his family.

The 20-year-old woman is in jail on $10,000 bail, charged with Robbery in the 1st degree (B felony), Robbery in the 2nd degree (C felony) and Grand Larceny in the 4th degree (E felony)

Stafford and his friend are so concerned that they asked me not to show the actual location of the carjacking.