A quick-thinking New Jersey mother protected her children and averted a potentially violent carjacking as she left the Jersey Gardens mall in Elizabeth on Sunday afternoon, authorities said.
The woman had just pulled out of the parking lot when a man approached her car at a stoplight and grabbed the door handle, according to Port Authority police spokesman Al Della Fave.
Della Fave said the woman locked the doors. Then the gunman banged on her window and fired two shots into the ground, he said.
With her children, ages 8 and 16, in the car with her, Della Fave said the mother took off as fast as she could, leaving the gunman behind.
The mom then saw a Port Authority policeman not too far away and stopped to report the incident, Della Fave said.
Officer Frank Conti credited the mother's two children "with tremendous recall." Based on their descriptions, Port Authority police officer Edward Gonzalez, along with Elizabeth, N.J. police, soon spied a suspect's vehicle nearby.
Police surrounded the vehicle and arrested three suspects while confiscating a .22-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun in the glove compartment.
The alleged gunman, Terrell Melvin, was wearing a monitoring bracelet on his ankle, police said.
Also arrested were the alleged driver of the car, April Sharpe, 31, and Darrell Washington, 26. All were from from Newark.
Charges against Melvin include carjacking, aggravated assault, weapons and other charges, authorities said. The other two suspects, who were not carrying identification, face carjacking charges.
None were available for comment, and it is not known who their attorneys are.
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