By Amanda Porterfield
MILWAUKEE (WDJT) — She was picking up a DoorDash order at Shake Shack when a man tried to steal her car with her kids inside.
The attempted carjacking led to a shootout between the suspect and an off-duty detective.
She spoke exclusively with CBS 58’s Amanda Porterfield.
The driver doesn’t want her face shown or her name used, because she’s now afraid for her safety and the safety of her children.
She’s sharing her story with us because before this, she was already struggling and this ordeal has completely turned her life upside down.
A single mom of three with no child care, she has to DoorDash with her girls in the car while they do virtual learning just to make ends meet.
On Thursday, she ran into Shake Shack on Buffalo and Water Street in Milwaukee’s Third Ward to pick up an order and to see if her daughter could use the bathroom.
“I started walking toward the restaurant, I saw the employees all like yelling and waving their arms around, saying someone is stealing your car. I turned back to look and he had already jumped out of the car and got into another car and took off. My daughters were still in the car, I didn’t have a chance to get them out. They said that when he got in he heard my little one say something and said ‘whoa’ and jumped out and left.”
The suspect had dropped his cellphone, so she picked it up, took it inside and before she could report it to police, he came back.
“He must have heard me tell my mom I had his phone, and when he heard that he rushed at me, wrapped his arms around me and tried to take me down to the ground. That’s when the officer jumped in.”
The off-duty Milwaukee police officer tried to stop the suspect. They fought and the suspect shot the officer in the abdomen before he got away. She says the Shake Shack employees whisked her away into a back stairwell to keep her safe.
“I feel like an incredible guilt. Like if I would have just left the phone on the ground, then he probably would have just drove past and picked it up and none of it would have happened…I mean he saved my life because who knows what would have happened, he could have pulled the gun and shot me trying to get his phone. He jumped in so fast, he didn’t even think. So I haven’t slept, I just keep going through everything in my head — could I have done this, could I have prevented him from getting hurt?”
She says the officer had been paying attention the whole time, repeating the suspect’s license plate over and over to a nurse who just happened to be there.
“While he was on the ground bleeding out, that was his concern, still helping to find this guy. I just think he’s honestly a hero. He did what he could to make sure I was safe, the restaurant employees were safe, completely selfless. He wasn’t thinking about himself at all, that was amazing. That to me is a hero.”
While she hopes they meet one day, her concern now is for her girls, ages 9, 5 and 1, who saw the whole thing through the Shake Shack windows, sitting in the car alone while their mom was stuck inside.
“I’m still in shock. I am scared, my kids are scared. My daughter dropped a toy yesterday and my older daughter came running and crying yesterday because she thought it was a gunshot. I’m scared to go work again, every time I think about going out and doing another delivery I am completely paranoid that it’s going to happen again or they are going to recognize my car. My kids, the fact that they saw everything and heard everything, I am just kind of lost. I don’t know where to go from here because I am afraid to work, so I am not just worried about their mental state, but that’s like losing my job all over again.”
She lost her accounting job and has been depending on doing deliveries every day to survive during the pandemic. Not, all that has changed.
“I just don’t know where to go from here, because like I said, I have to work to pay my bills, I have no option but to work. But I am scared, my kids are scared, I just don’t know what to do.”
Two days before this she was at the neurologist because she has what’s called intracranial pressure and will need surgery.
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