Carjacker assaults mother, local civil rights leader

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Police continue to search for a man who stole a car from a young mother at gunpoint, then after crashing the car, assaulted a 78-year-old former pastor and local civil rights leader — biting the victim as he tried to get the keys. 

It started in Grand Rapids at the BP gas station at Franklin Street and Eastern Avenue around 1 p.m. on Tuesday. A young mother found herself at gunpoint by a man who demanded her vehicle. 

He sped off in a stolen vehicle but did not get far. He crashed it a few blocks away on Bates Street. 

The robber took off on foot, ending up near the Grand Rapids Public Schools administration building. Rev. David May — who has spent his life working for social justice with groups like the NAACP and co-founded the Racial Justice Institute — was meeting his daughter for lunch. 

May was at his home Wednesday recovering from the incident. 

He said the assailant, a young man who was at least 6-feet-tall, came up behind him as he and his wife were getting into their can. The young man grabbed the 78-year-old and tried to wrestle the keys away. 

May said without thinking about it, he hung onto his keys as the assailant bit his hand, drawing blood. 

As this was happening, a pair of people stopped their vehicles and tussled with the assailant in the middle of Franklin Street. They tried to hold the suspect down, but he managed to get away. 

May was not seriously injured but is taking antibiotics to combat potential infection. 

Grand Rapids police K9s were unsuccessful in tracking the suspect who remains at large. 

Police say carjackings are part of an overall increase in crime seen this year with 12 incidents so far in 2020 compared with three for the same time period last year. 

May said he is thankful for the help from the bystanders and also says he holds no animosity toward his attacker, but he also hopes a potentially dangerous person is apprehended. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Know something newsworthy? Report It!

News 8 Links