Armed Citizen Thwarts Gas Station Carjacking of Elderly Couple

AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Most folks who carry a firearm do so because they want to protect themselves, not others, but that doesn't mean that armed citizens are unwilling to intervene when they believe they can stop someone else from being injured or killed. Earlier today I covered the rideshare driver in Orange County, California who shot a man assaulting a woman outside an apartment complex, but he wasn't the only armed citizen who stepped up to protect others this past weekend. 

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Police in Ormand Beach, Florida say an elderly couple was saved from an attempted carjacking when an alert citizen saw what was happening and grabbed his gun.

Adam McDaniel told News 6 he was in the right place at the right time Saturday morning when he happened to stop at the same gas station as the couple off Interstate 95.

Police said the attempted carjacking happened at the Exxon on US-1 just off the interstate in Ormond Beach. The couple told police they pulled into the gas station, parked in a spot, and that’s when the carjacking suspect, Marvette Perry, jumped in their car. 

McDaniel saw it all happening and jumped in to help.

“My 3-year-old is with us in the back seat of the car. I’m pumping gas, just kind of doing my own thing and I was talking to her in the back seat, I opened the back door, and I noticed the lady behind me, and she was kind of acting weird, she wasn’t pumping gas,” he said.

McDaniel and his family were just one hour into their ten-hour drive home to North Carolina when they stopped.

McDaniel says the woman was acting strangely enough that he went to the back of his SUV and started to remove his firearm from its case. Moments later the elderly couple pulled up the gas pump, and McDaniel saw the woman sprint towards their car. As the man got out and walked to the pump, the woman hopped in the driver's seat. 

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“As soon as he got out of the car, she took off running and jumped in his car and he grabbed her leg. So, I proceeded to get my firearm out and point it at her to make sure she didn’t have any weapons or anything,” McDaniel said.

The police said Perry jumped into the driver’s seat and tried to take the car from the couple while the wife was still in it. The husband grabbed Perry’s leg to stop her from leaving with the car.

McDaniel said he kept his gun on Perry until he realized she was unarmed, and another bystander called 911. He said the entire situation moved quickly. 

“It was a split second. When she took off running from the time she got in the car it was probably two seconds.

Like most defensive gun uses, McDaniel didn't have to discharge a round from his firearm in order to protect the elderly couple from harm. But if Perry had decided to escalate the situation by physically attacking the couple, he was ready to step in if necessary. 

Perhaps because McDaniel was armed, the couple weren't injured in the carjacking attempt. At last report, Perry's being held without bond in the Volusia County jail. McDaniel and his family, meanwhile, made it back home to North Carolina without incident. 

Body camera video showed police getting on the scene and arresting Perry.

“She was resisting like crazy. He actually had to put her on the ground so she would stop resisting and then his body camera fell off, so I went and picked that up so they could have evidence,” McDaniel said.

He said it was quite the crazy ending to their family vacation.

“My daughter was actually in the car, and she loves police cars and all that, so the sergeant actually came up and talked to her and told her that her daddy was a hero today and all that,” he said.

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That's good to hear. If this had happened further up I-95, in say, New Jersey or Maryland, McDaniel might very well have ended up facing charges of his own for carrying a firearm without a license. Thankfully, in Florida the Second Amendment isn't treated as a second-class right or a privilege to be doled out by the State, and McDaniel was rightfully hailed as a hero instead of being portrayed as a villain by anti-gun authorities. 

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