Driver disarms and holds man in carjack attempt

June 30, 1995|By Gregory P. Kane | Gregory P. Kane,Sun Staff Writer

The attacker was 21 and had a gun.

The victim, 69, was armed with a strong right jab.

It was hardly a fair fight.

Anne Arundel County police say that Wednesday afternoon, William Pitt, a retired General Motors maintenance man, foiled a carjacking, disarmed his attacker and held him at bay until help arrived.

Mr. Pitt is a trustee at Payne Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church in Laurel. A Good Samaritan.

But when the man he was giving a ride put a gun to Mr. Pitt's head and ordered him to drive to Baltimore, Mr. Pitt remembered that the Lord helps those who help themselves.

"I looked around and saw it was a gun," Mr. Pitt said yesterday on the porch of his Harmans home. "I had about three seconds to decide what to do."

What the former U.S. Navy middleweight boxer did was slam on the brakes, sending the gunman hurling into the --board. Mr. Pitt then seized the moment while the would-be carjacker was temporarily stunned. He grabbed the gun with one hand and wrested it from the man's grasp.

With his other hand Mr. Pitt grabbed the man's wrist and twisted.

"I could have broke his wrist easily," said the white-haired man, lTC who added the coup de grace -- a straight right jab to the face -- once his assailant was disarmed.

The man bolted from Mr. Pitt's Ford pickup truck. He didn't get a chance to escape because his intended victim grabbed a hammer from his tool bag and held him at bay.

When Anthony Smith, a guard from the House of Corrections at Jessup happened on the scene at 4:15 p.m., Mr. Pitt flagged him down and gave him the weapon. David C. Bebee, another guard at Jessup, came along and Mr. Smith sent him to call police.

The incident began as an act of kindness to a stranger.

Mr. Pitt was putting a second coat of paint on a screen door he had installed last week at the Payne Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church in the 7900 block of Brock Bridge Road.

The man said he had run out of gas and needed a lift home. Mr. Pitt -- who had about half an hour's work left, by his estimate -- told the man to wait and he would take him home. The man complained of being hungry. Mr. Pitt gave him two glasses of grape juice because the church had no food.

The man then joined Mr. Pitt in his truck. They had gone no more than five blocks when the man pulled out his gun at Brock Bridge and Jessup roads. Mr. Pitt went into action without the slightest thought of being harmed.

"I was too angry," he claimed. "I wasn't thinking about nothing but getting him out of the truck. I wasn't scared at all."

Colby Thomas of the 7700 block of Apple Ave. in Jessup was charged with assault with intent to rob, carjacking, kidnapping, felony theft and assault, police said.

He is being held at the Anne Arundel County Detention Center in lieu of $275,000 bond.

Darnell Pitt, 68, Mr. Pitt's wife of 45 years, was barbecuing hamburgers and hot dogs when her husband came home after filling out a police report and told her about his day.

"I was really upset," Mrs. Pitt said. "But I found out God was with him and he was really blessed."

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