Victim’s Voice: “There is no safe place anymore. Now, it’s in my front yard, literally, with a gun to my head.”

“I think you need to do what will make you feel secure and safe but don’t ever truly believe you’re safe.”


Jan. 8, 2022, a 30-yr-old woman and her friend were headed back to their home in the Garden District around 2:15 pm, broad daylight when their car was stolen from them at gunpoint. Specifically, they live at the intersection of Oleander St. & Kenmore Ave. in Baton Rouge.

“We were driving down Oleander towards Catholic High and I noticed two young men, walking on the right side of the road. As I got closer to the stop sign, I noticed they were splitting with one going on each side of the car. I noticed what was going on and it’s why I didn’t even stop at the stop sign.”

She said while paying attention to her surroundings, she was also engaged in the conversation with her friend, the passenger in the vehicle.

“It’s more like muscle memory where you’re excited about something and all of a sudden, you’re home because you know where home is. You pull up to home and it’s this relief that I’m home and that sense of security, your safe zone. You don’t even think that can be demolished like that even if the second before you knew something was wrong.”

I was literally opening the door and the first thing I saw was a gun pointed at me. It’s like they booked it from the stop sign. The next thing I noticed was my friend being yanked out of the passenger seat. I got out. I knew what he wanted immediately and I had my hands in my pocket to find my keys. He’s yelling at me to get him the keys with the gun pointed at me. He kept saying, ‘Keys, keys, keys.’

I’m trying to find my keys but I’m also watching the other guy on top of my friend. I couldn’t even see her. I could hear a struggle, I just couldn’t see her. I was begging the guy to get his friend off mine and that he could have whatever he wanted. I told him, ‘You can have the car’ as he pointed a gun at my head and asked him to get his friend off mine.

I finally found my keys. He was in the driver seat already and ready to go. His friend was still on top of my friend beating her. Maybe he was trying to get her purse. He was hitting my friend when the guy with the gun got out of the car and went to help his friend continue beating my friend. When she realized there was a gun involved, she backed off. That’s when both guys jumped back in the car and took off with it.

Both men were wearing hoodies, the one who had a gun pointed at me was in a blue hoodie with braids in his hair and had a black, cloth mask over his face. The other guy assaulting my friend had a red hoodie on. These guys had to be in their late teens, early 20’s”

She added there were people walking past them as the incident unfolded but either went back in their homes, perhaps out of fear, or continued walking. She said one woman showed up after it all ended and stayed to give police a statement. “As the crime rate increases, so do the chances of one becoming a witness and it’s important that we should all start to really question, ‘What would I want to do in that situation’.”

SUBMIT YOUR OWN VICTIM’S VOICE

The stolen car is a dark blue, 2016 Mazda CX-5 2016.5 Grand Touring.

She said she immediately called 911.

“I literally was speeding through any information I could remember. They kept asking me questions and asking me to slow down but given my memory, I just kept going off with what all I could remember.”

Meanwhile, she said she was so happy to see that her friend was alive. “They hit her in the face and bruised her up pretty bad.”

With the gun pointed at her head, the woman said, “Fear for my friend was my first thought and then just disbelief. I didn’t understand for 1) why he would risk his future for a CX Mazda and 2) did you really need a gun to do that and assault to do that? My friend is absolutely terrified. I want these guys caught and to be able to look them in the eyes and ask if it was worth it.”

She added, “Crime has always been bad in the Garden District. My parents have taught me nothing is more important than your life. If they want the car, you give it. They want anything on your person, purse, anything, give it. Don’t ever risk your life over a material object. So growing up, people have stolen my stuff before. I didn’t have to have a gun in my head. Then the assault on my friend, they already had my car. What did they think they would find in her purse more than that? We’re just two young girls. What did they think we had but the car?

It’s made me paranoid but also made me determined as well. My friend is completely shaken up over this. It doesn’t matter what you look like, what you drive, nothing matters about you. If a criminal sees you as someone they can take advantage of, you can always be a victim. There is no safe place anymore. I feel like these kinds of things used to happen in big parking lots like big businesses where criminals scoped out women. Now, it’s in my front yard, literally, with a gun to my head.

We kid ourselves thinking our home is safe. I never thought to keep a gun in my car or bring it with me and carry it on me. After this, I did think about it. Had I actually had my gun on me, would it have changed anything though?

This was different to where it was at my home and daylight, a place and time you feel you’re safe.

My message to people reading this is there is no “safe” place or time anymore. You can be as diligent as you want. You can get that alarm system, but they’ll find a way around it. I think you need to do what will make you feel secure and safe but don’t ever truly believe you’re safe. They tell girls to stay in groups but how did that help us?”

The women did file a report with Baton Rouge Police and have actively been asking anyone with surveillance camera to please check them if anything was caught on camera. For example, if the men walking down the street was caught or them stealing the car, anything, please call Baton Rouge Police at 389-3800. 

About Kiran Chawla 574 Articles
I'm an Emmy & Murrow Award winning investigative reporter who simply loves my job!

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