Woman foils armed car­jacker in Elkton

Victim: ‘I trusted my in­stincts, and I am glad I did’.’

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By CARL HAMIL­TON

ca­hamil­ton@ce­cil­whig.com

— 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

ELKTON

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 at­uer@elk­tonpd.org.

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.”

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF EPD

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.

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