The brave actions of a victim, police and shoppers outside the Hobby Lobby on Ga. Highway 138 helped fend off an armed kidnapper and potentially saved the lives of a Conyers woman and her grandchild Wednesday afternoon.
According to Conyers Police Chief Gene Wilson, around 4 p.m., the victim, a white middle aged woman, had just finished putting her 9-month-old grandchild into the back seat of her car, which was parked just three parking spots down from the Hobby Lobby entrance.
As she was getting into the car, a 28-year-old black male wielding a butcher knife ran up, grabbed the door, and put the knife to her throat.
The suspect did not demand the woman’s purse or belongings but instead was trying to force her at knifepoint to drive away with the car, said Wilson.
“She started screaming and screaming and screaming. She fought him off,” said Wilson. “She literally saved herself.”
“Her point was she had to protect the baby. She wasn’t going to let anything happen to the baby.”
People nearby heard the commotion and came out of their cars and shops to her aid.
The suspect left the woman and drove off in a rented silver Nissan headed south on Ga. Highway 138.
A witness got into his white Escalade to follow the suspect. The good Samaritan, a black male in his 30s, called 911 and gave dispatchers descriptions of the suspect’s vehicle and where it was headed.
The suspect turned into the McDonald’s at Ga. Highway 138 and Flat Shoals and then proceeded to drive behind the Captain D’s and Sign-O-Rama where he abandoned the car.
The suspect reportedly ran behind the post office and the former Victorious Life church and police quickly cordoned off the area.
Within 10 minutes of the incident, he was found and arrested at gunpoint by Det. Dwayne Jones and Sgt. Clay Ivey.
Investigators are still trying to verify the identity of the suspect, who gave at least two names to officers. One name was Musa Muhammad Abdul Alkarim with an address of Inman Street in Atlanta.
Wilson commented that it was unusual for something like this to happen in broad daylight in a crowded area.
However, the suspect seemed to be prepared in other ways. Wilson said, “I just don’t think this was his first time doing this.”
The suspect had on two pairs of pants, which would allow him to take off the outer pants to quickly change his clothing appearance.
In his pockets, police found rubber latex gloves and several sets of plastic zip lines already fashioned into hand-ties. In the car, which was reportedly rented today, there were punch locks and tools.
“Our thought is that he was going to kidnap the woman,” said Wilson.
The woman ended up with bruises on her arms was but was otherwise not seriously injured.
Conyers police happened to be holding a seminar at police headquarters. When the call went out, about 10- 15 extra officers and detectives responded to the scene to conduct the search.
“He picked a bad day to do that,” Wilson said.
Wilson also praised the reaction of the other shoppers and the local resident who followed the suspect’s car and provided critical information that led police to capture the suspect.
“The other thing that was encouraging was the number of people that came out to help her, and the fact this one gentleman who jumped in his Escalade and followed the perpetrator.”
“This is exactly what we need,” he said, of the citizen involvement. “We’re not going to be able to do this all by ourselves.”
The suspect was booked into Rockdale County jail and charged with two counts of attempted kidnapping, armed robbery, and aggravated assault.