A 74-year-old woman was carjacked by a gunman who allegedly threw her into the Genesee River when he abandoned the vehicle and fled the scene, according to police.
The terrifying carjacking incident, which law enforcement officials now describe as attempted murder, got its start in the Rochester, New York, suburb of Gates.
Cops indicate that the suspect attempted to rob a nearby real estate office before accosting the elderly woman in her driveway. He allegedly carjacked her vehicle, took her with him, before ditching Toyota Corolla near the river bank ledge, and then shoving the grandmother into the water as he fled the area on foot.
“Police say the man stole the car, kidnapped the woman and drove into the city of Rochester, apparently driving the car down the canal path. Police said before the suspect ran off, he pushed the woman into the water,” TWC News reported.
The water temperature was estimated to be 52 degrees at the time, according to the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, and the woman did not know how to swim.
One or more bystanders called 911, and the woman — who was clinging to a tree — was rescued by the Rochester Fire Department and transported to a local hospital for treatment for hypothermia and minor cuts and bruises. Fortunately, the victim is now described as doing well despite this ordeal. “She’s physically okay, a little sore, emotionally still upset and we just would ask that everyone would respect her privacy at this point,” her daughter explained, adding that the family is very appreciative of the assistance rendered to her by first responders as well as those passersby who called the authorities.
Police divers also searched the river for any evidence in connection with the crime, particularly the firearm in question.
The suspect in the carjacking/kidnapping incident is still at large and is subject to a police manhunt being carried out by a task force of local and state police as well as federal officers. Authorities released surveillance video of the suspect walking down the street shortly before attempting to hold up the real estate office in hopes that the public can help identify him.
The FBI has also offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to his capture. He apparently will face charges that are said to include attempted robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, and attempted murder when taken into custody.
“It’s our belief, based on everything that we’ve seen so far, we’ve been able to piece together, that clearly when you take a 74-year-old victim and push them into the Genesee River, with an embankment of over 6 feet tall, I think their intent was clear, their intent was to kill that person,” Gates Police Chief Jim VanBrederode told WHEC, News 10 in Rochester about what he separately described as an attempted murder with an abduction.
“Luckily this lady was in great shape, and she survived the fall into the water,” he added.
Further commenting on the carjacking of the elderly woman, the chief asserted that “In my 30 years of experience, when you see stuff like this, to me, as a veteran police officer, it shows a lot of time these are people that are desperate. These are people with some sort of addiction problem. They’re not thinking straight and they take unbelievable risks like this and put people in jeopardy.”
“Police describe their suspect as a black man between 20 and 30 years old, clean shaven, 5 feet 7 to 5 feet 10 inches tall, with a medium build,” Rochester’s WXXI reported.
[image via Shutterstock]