Woman foils armed carjacker in Elkton
Victim: ‘I trusted my instincts, and I am glad I did’.’
— With little warning as she stood alone loading groceries into the back of her Chevrolet Suburban, Shannon Luxton was forced to make a potential life-ordeath decision in the Elkton Walmart Supercenter parking lot shortly after midnight Tuesday.
Luxton, 42, of Newark, Del., noticed a woman in a dark hooded sweatshirt approaching her and, mistaking her for a panhandler intent on begging for money, she yelled, “No. Just stop.”
But the woman continued to walk “purposefully” toward Luxton and seconds later, now standing face to
face, she nonchalantly tried to carjack Luxton at gunpoint, Luxton added.
“She reached my cart and said, ‘Don’t yell again.’ She had her hand in her hoodie pocket and pulled out a gun for me to see. She calmly said, ‘I want you to finish putting your bags in the car. Don’t put the cart away. Leave it here. I am not going to hurt you. We are going to get in your car and drive to an ATM,’” Luxton recalled.
Luxton didn’t know if the gun-wielding woman would shoot her if she resisted.
The only thing Luxton knew for sure was this: There was no way that she was getting into her SUV with an armed stranger and riding off to an ATM machine with her. With her thoughts focused on her family — her husband, James, and their four children, ages 20 months to 8 years old — and how they were “waiting for me at home,” Luxton made her play.
“My mind set, I shut the back hatch and I yelled ‘Help, and ran and yelled, ‘She has a gun.’ (The suspect) ran off toward Royal Farms across (Route) 40. The police were called and I had four people by my side in an instant,” Luxton recalled, noting the Elkton Police Department officers arrived quickly and were “excellent” when handling the situation.
Luxton singled out EPD Cpl. Candace Pirritano in her praise.
“I can’t say enough good things about Cpl. Pirritano. She showed me so much compassion and even called to check on me, after I told her I could make it home alright on my own. I am so thankful for her,” Luxton said.
The attempted armed robbery case has been assigned to EPD Det. Sgt. Andrew Tuer, who was able to glean a video of the suspect from a surveillance camera, render a photo from it and circulate that picture in hopes that someone can identify the woman. The attempted armed robbery occurred at 1:12 a.m. Tuesday outside the Elkton Walmart Supercenter at 1000 E. Pulaski Highway.
Anyone with information that might help investigators identify the suspect is asked to please contact Tuer on the phone at 410-3984200, ext. 35, or by email at email@example.com.
Luxton felt compelled to share her story in hopes that others will be vigilant of people approaching their vehicles in business parking lots, particularly outside grocery stores because it is easy to be preoccupied while loading groceries, she explained.
She wonders what the outcome would have been had this incident occurred earlier in her life.
“I don’t know if even five years ago this would have turned out the same for me as it did (Tuesday morning). I think of myself as a nice person. I don’t want to be rude or loud or cause a scene. I don’t want to be mean or embarrass someone who could just be lost and needing directions. And even if they do want money, I have so much. Can’t I spare a dollar to someone down on their luck?” Luxton said.
On Tuesday morning, however, Luxton went with her gut feeling when the woman brandishing the gun presented the possible lifeor-death choice to her.
“I trusted my instincts, and I am glad I did. Please, especially my female friends, trust your instincts and don’t be afraid to yell and be rude. Because I yelled when she approached, that got the attention of two college girls. They thought we were just friends in an argument. But if I had been forced in the car, they would have noticed and been witnesses and called 911 immediately,” Luxton emphasized, adding, “Please be safe. I would really hate for this or worse to happen to anyone.”
This surveillance photo shows a woman who tried to carjack a woman at gunpoint in the Elkton Walmart Supercenter parking lot in Elkton about 1:15 a.m. Tuesday morning.