Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Schoolteacher exchanges gunfire with carjackers

A DeKalb County schoolteacher carjacked early Sunday scored a measure
of revenge against his attackers -- thanks in part to their poor sense
of direction.

Derek Harper, 47, had just returned to his Lithonia home around 1:15
a.m. when two unidentified gunmen surprised him from behind, forcing
the Evansdale Elementary teacher out of his car and onto the ground,
demanding money.

"After they figured out I didn't have any cash on me they got into my
van," he said. His narrow garage helped Harper sneak away.

"One of them was having trouble getting into the passenger's side, so
while he was doing that I took off," said Harper, also the assistant
track coach at Stephenson High.

As he ran the gunmen started firing, striking Harper once in the arm
before speeding off in his van, heading directly toward a dead end on
Phillips Place.

Knowing they'd be forced to turn around, Harper ran inside and grabbed
his .380 pistol.

"I was waiting for them," he said. Harper estimates he fired two to
three bullets, which might have contributed to the driver crashing the
van less than a block away. A small amount of blood was found inside
the vehicle. . . . .

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