Police say Florida carjacker was shot and killed by victim's boyfriend

Police say Florida carjacker was shot and killed by victim's boyfriend
(AP Photo/Al Behrman, File)

A young woman in Sanford, Florida who had just gotten off work was violently assaulted by a man during an attempted carjacking, but it was the carjacker himself who ended up paying the price.

Authorities say the woman had just finished her shift at George’s Tavern and was walking to her vehicle behind the bar when a man burst out of a Port-a-Potty and began attacking her.

“A man had been waiting in the outhouse for a few hours and come around and had grabbed her and had her on the ground, choking her and beating her in the head, said George’s Tavern customer Al Moon.

The father of the victim said his daughter suffered mild injuries to her head after the suspect attacked her. He said she is a bartender at George’s Tavern and had just finished her shift. He asked her boyfriend to come by at the end of the night to make sure she got home safely. According to police, when the boyfriend saw what was happening, he removed his gun from his waist and shot the man.

“Thank God her boyfriend is a special ops guy and come out and saved her life,” Moon said.

Chelsea Putnam agrees, telling local reporters that if it weren’t for her boyfriend she wouldn’t be alive today. And Putnam isn’t convinced that this was “just” a carjacking attempt based on how her attacker was acting.

“Hands come across my throat. Start strangling me. He wouldn’t let me go and I kind of let out a scream,” she said. He got me on the ground, started bashing my head in, rip my shirt.”

Sanford police said it was an attempted carjacking, but Putnam thinks the stranger had a different motive.

“He picked me up by my neck. And threw me on the ground. My purse and keys were in my hand, and they were dropped. And he just kept on attacking me. That’s why I don’t think it was a carjacking.”

She said the man watched her in the bar for hours and believes he was going to rape or kill her, after ripping her shirt.

“It was ripped all the way from my arm sleeve, all the way here, and it had claw marks and rips in it.”

The man was wearing gloves. It was premeditated. It wasn’t just something out of the blue,” said Putnam.

…She’s grateful to him for saving her life and describes how he’s a combat veteran.

“173rd Airborne. He’s my angel he’s my saving grace. Like I said if it wasn’t for him, I’d be dead, and I wouldn’t be going home to my 3 kids,” said Putnam.

Violent crime can happen in an instant. One moment you’re pulling into your driveway or locking the door to your workplace at the end of a shift, and the next you’re getting punched in the face or staring down the barrel of a gun. I’m very glad that Putnam had the presence of mind to ask her boyfriend to show up when she got off work just to make sure she made it home okay, but I hope that going forward she’ll consider getting her concealed carry license and start carrying a firearm of her own for self-defense. Chances are she’ll never have to experience anything as terrifying as what happened to her last Thursday, but we don’t get to pick and choose when and if we become the victim of a violent attacker, and we might not have a guardian angel nearby ready to step in when we need them.