Saturday, December 6, 2003

Charlotte, North Carolina

From WCNC TV of December 2, 2003

Bystander armed with gun helps police catch robber

Just before lunchtime Tuesday a man tried to rob two people at a west Charlotte ATM. According to police, a customer was at an ATM machine at the State Employees Credit Union on Freedom Drive and was approached by a man who said he needed money. The customer told the man to 'take a hike.'

"A guy comes up and asks me for money. I tell him I don't have any. Then I go to the ATM and the man jumps in my car,” explained Reggie Blackmon, victim. “I go back to my car and ask him to leave. He shakes his pocket like he has a gun."

Blackmon then walked into the bank and called police.

While Blackmon was inside the bank, the suspect approached customer Hazel Forman.

"I walked up to the ATM and a guy jumped out of a vehicle and said give me your money," Forman said.

She gave the suspect $60 and he also took her keys. Forman then followed the man to her car.

"By this time I saw he didn't have gun because his jacket was open and he didn't have a shirt on underneath,” Forman said. “So I grabbed him around the neck and he wrestled around."

A witness in the parking lot said he heard Forman yelling for help.

The witness, who did not want to be identified, pulled out a gun and ordered the suspect to freeze.

"That didn't even faze the man much,” the witness said. “He started to walk away. He put his hand in his pocket and turned back around. That's when I shot at him. I didn't know if he was going to shoot so I shot for his leg."

The man missed. He then followed the suspect in his own vehicle until police arrived.

Police said the witness will not be charged with firing his weapon because they say he was acting in self defense and as a Good Samaritan.

The robber appeared to be under the influence of a narcotic or alcohol at the time of his arrest, police said.

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