A 21-year-old Maryland Heights man had a life-and-death struggle with a gunman. The victim in the case was arriving home after a night out with his girlfriend. He pulled his truck into the driveway, got out and walked his girlfriend to her car across the street. Two armed men approached the couple and ordered them back into the truck.
The suspects told them to drive to an ATM. The victim said he had only 83 cents in his account. The victim's family members we spoke with today said that the gunmen told the victims that they were going to kill them, leave their bodies in a ditch and take the truck. I guess you could say that's when the 21-year-old victim decided, basically, that he wasn't going to be a victim. He was going to fight back.
He told police he grabbed the gun and wrestled with one of the suspects, all the while driving erractically, swerving back and forth, running over curbs and signs, trying to fight back. The truck ended up in the parking lot of the 7-11 where the two men tumbled out. The fight continued. Police say the victim told them that the two were pushing the gun back and forth just as you would see in a movie. It was extremely dangerous.
The suspect who had been in the backseat with the victim's girlfriend dropped his gun during the wild ride. He took off when the truck stopped. The victim and the other gunman wrestled until that suspect took off as well. Apparently after the gun wouldn't fire.
A Maryland Heights police officer was driving nearby and heard the screeching tires from the truck. He headed toward the scene. A car that had been following the truck the entire time was racing away. It was the alleged getaway vehicle. The officer caught the driver after he rammed through a fence and came to a stop on the field at Pattonville High School. The car had been stolen, as well.
Police say the three suspects are no strangers to officers. They have extensive arrest records.
I was talking with the mother of the 21-year-old victim. She said that her son's story had appeared on another news website. People were posting messages. They were commenting about race. Her son is white. The suspects are black. She said this isn't about race. She said--basically-- some thugs and punks are black. Some thugs and punks are white. Skin color doesn't make you a thug. Your behavior does.