Wanted fast car, got fat lip

Arundel carjacking thwarted when victim fights back

June 28, 2008|By Karen Shih | Karen Shih,Sun Reporter

The doors of Tony Hopkins Jr.'s white Dodge Charger open Lamborghini-style: They swing up, not out.

The white car has four TVs for watching DVDs, exterior speakers mounted on the rear and 24-inch rims. But the 25-year-old Pasadena resident still has about a month's worth of customizing work left to do.

This is not a car he'd give up without a fight.

So it seemed natural that Hopkins slugged a would-be car thief and took his .380-caliber handgun when two men tried to rob him outside his apartment in the 8100 block of Elmberry Court on Thursday night.

"I was more shocked; I wasn't scared," Hopkins said. "I just took my chance."

Hopkins and his father, 50-year-old Tony Sr., were returning home after a food run to Hardee's when two men ran out from around the corner of their building and followed them up the stairs to the second-floor apartment. One of the men pointed a gun at Hopkins, demanded the keys to his car and then pointed the gun at his father.

That's when Hopkins punched the man in the face.

"I knew [Tony Jr.] wasn't gonna let nobody hurt me," the elder Hopkins said. "It was like going to the movies. What was going through my head was, 'I'm going to die.' "

Tony Jr. said the decision to throw the punch came in a flash. He didn't want to just hand over his keys, not knowing if the man was going to shoot no matter what.

"I just thought, 'I'm not letting this happen,' " he said.

The blow sent the man tumbling down the stairs before he scrambled to his feet and ran down the street. The second man ran around the other side of the building, and Hopkins gave chase. When the men jumped into a silver Dodge Stratus, the Hopkins men jumped into the Charger in pursuit. They followed the Stratus onto Ritchie Highway while the younger Hopkins talked with police on his cell phone.

Police said they stopped a silver Stratus at Ritchie Highway and Arnold Road and arrested three occupants: Ashley Cully, 19, and Darryl Z. Moore, 27, both of Annapolis; and Rico D. Thomas, 22, of Glen Burnie.

Earlier in the day, a 39-year-old woman also reported seeing a silver Stratus when she was attacked in the 7800 block of Americana Circle in Glen Burnie as she walked from her parked car to her apartment, police said. The woman told police a person pointed a gun at her and demanded her car keys.

She ran and yelled, and the gunman fled, police said.

Cully, of the first block of Melrob Court, was charged with attempted carjacking, attempted armed robbery, using a handgun in a felony, and first- and second-degree assault in the Americana Circle incident.

Moore, 27, of the 100 block of Conley Drive, and Thomas, 22, of the 100 block of Hammarlee Road, were charged with attempted armed carjacking, attempted armed robbery, using a handgun in a felony, and first- and second-degree assault in the Elmberry Court incident.

Hopkins moved to the area two months ago. He lived in Prince George's County and Washington growing up and is no stranger to violence, he said.

"I wanted to get away from it," he said. "I've seen people get shot."

Hopkins, who said he works in the food service industry, said he now wants to move into a house with a garage where he can more safely continue customizing his car.

karen.shih@baltsun.com

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