(NEW ORLEANS) — Police are investigating an armed carjacking in New Orleans East that happened after the victim's vehicle was bumped from behind.
According to the NOPD, a gray sedan with two women inside rear-ended a vehicle in the 6800 of Tara Lane shortly after midnight Monday (Dec. 17).
The passenger in the car that got hit got out to check on the damage.
That’s when one of the unknown carjackers approached the 18-year-old victim and demanded that she get out of her car.
When the victim refused, the carjacker flashed a handgun. The victim then got out, and the carjacker took off in the victim's 2013 Buick Verano.
Errol Surtain, who lives on Tara Lane, described the crime as “crazy.”
"Can't even drive your car and get in an accident without something crazy happening down here,” he said Tuesday.
Neighbor Jacques Miller agreed.
"What if she didn't want to give her car up?" Miller said. "She could have lost her life. Another innocent life gone behind a carjacking."
Surtain admitted his first inclination is to get out of his vehicle if he's rear ended.
"Of course that's my first reaction: pull over and check my car and make sure everything is alright," Surtain said.
But is getting out of your car the best thing to do, particularly at night on a darkened street?
In a word, NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison said no.
"I think they should assess what they have as fast as they can to make sure they're in a safe area," Harrison said. "If they feel they're in a safe area, perhaps they should get on the phone and call for a police right away."
Back on Tara Lane, Miller said the carjacking on his block taught him a valuable lesson.
"From now on, to be honest, stay in the car and observe," Miller said. "Observe who's behind me. Who got out of the car. What they got on. How he looks."
The carjacking happened not far from one of the city’s real-time crime cameras. Police recovered the stolen vehicle but continue to search for the carjackers.
Paul Murphy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.