A 7-year-old girl from Nashville is being hailed a hero after bravely rescuing her 3-year-old sister during a carjacking incident.
Convicted felon Elijah Malik McDowell, 27, allegedly carjacked a black Dodge Charger at gunpoint from the vehicle’s 35-year-old owner at a Super 8 Motel.
Police witnessed the theft and pursued McDowell in a car chase that ended on a Tennessee interstate, when the managed to deflate the Charger’s tires with a spike strip.
The suspect later crashed the stolen car off the right side of the highway. After flipping the vehicle, he fled on foot into a residential area, where he trolled for another ride.
Child becomes a hero in attempted carjacking
Meanwhile, Luis Mena, the girls’ grandfather, was in the process of picking them up from a nearby daycare center with his Toyota Tundra truck.
The carjacker approached and a physical altercation ensued between the two men, when McDowell attempted to force Mena out of his truck.
The grandfather of two said that the man grabbed him by the t-shirt an threw him to the ground.
When Mena regained consciousness, he feared that the suspect had taken off with his granddaughters still inside.
“What made me conscious again was when one of my little kids cried,” he told local news outlet WSMV. “That was my biggest worry — not only my truck getting stolen, but with my girls in it.”
To his relief, Mena discovered that his brave 7-year-old granddaughter, Amy, had managed to rescue her younger sister from the vehicle during the attack.
“I was fighting with this guy,” he recalled. “[Amy] jumped from the truck, and she pulled her sister out of the truck so they could escape and be safe.”
Repeat offender ends up in jail after repeated attempted carjackings
McDowell’s joyride in in Mena’s Tundra was short-lived. He drove the truck to some woods nearby and abandoned the vehicle.
The police were still in hot pursuit of the suspect and he was apprehended by a police canine unit.
McDowell sustained injuries from a dog bites on his foot and was treated at a hospital before being released into police custody.
He is facing numerous charges, including carjacking, felony evading arrest, unlawful gun possession, and aggravated assault for driving at the two children, amongst others.
McDowell had a previous conviction for aggravated assault and narcotics charges, which he was actively on parole for when he committed the series of crimes. His bond was set at $211,000.