Shot fired in Newark attempted carjacking

Stacey Sager reports from Newark, New Jersey
December 23, 2013 3:21:58 PM PST
Police in Newark are investigating an attempted carjacking in which a shot was fired.

Police say the suspects tried to carjack a Mercedes-Benz on North 5th Street at about 11 Monday morning.

The car's owner told police that he was approached by a group of men who wanted to take the vehicle at gunpoint.

When he tried to drive away, a shot was fired that hit the car, but the driver was not injured.

Residents heard the shot fired and the struggle that tore up the Mercedes as the driver refused to give in to the 4 carjackers.

"They all had ski masks, scarves, look like Ninjas, type thing," said witness Vito Birardi.

He owns the business only feet away from where it happened, and says at least one of the suspects entered his store.

"We panicked but they finally left. After a few seconds, he left," said Birardi.

Birardi's customer, the driver of the Mercedes, refused to get out of the car and give it up.

"He didn't get out. He put the car in reverse, sped back with the door open," Birardi said. He ended up hitting a red Jeep, and angering one of the suspects so much, he fired the gun.

Police say the suspects fled the scene in their car, which was later recovered in the area of Bloomfield Avenue and Third Street. They are believed to have fled to a New Jersey Transit station.

The nearby 1st Avenue school was placed on lockdown following the incident on a day in which hundreds of students were supposed to be dismissed early.

"They didn't say nothing to no parents," said parent Ray Katiden. "We live here, we pay taxes. We need to know what's going on as parents."

Meanwhile resident after resident recalled recent car thefts, break-ins, or carjackings that seem to be all too common.

"I've actually gotten one of my cars stolen," said one resident. "My car was broken into about two weeks ago," said another.

Investigators are urging anyone with information about the carjacking to contact the Newark Police Crime Stoppers anonymous tip line at 877- NWK-TIPS (877-695-8477) or 877-NWK-GUNS (877-695-4867).