A family returning to South Florida from Walt Disney World was carjacked Sunday by a man who drove off with an infant and his grandmother in the car, authorities said. Police later arrested a 21-year-old man and charged him with carjacking.
The family was parked at a Mobil station in Palm City near the entrance to Florida's Turnpike when “an armed suspect walked up to the car and violently attacked the female driver,” the Martin County Sheriff’s Office said.
The assailant, identified by the Sheriff's Office as Jaquay Marlon Jean, approached a 2011 Acura, the Sheriff's Office said. Jean pointed a gun at Jaime Sagona, 42, and her 27-year-old brother, who were sitting in the car along with her 5-month-old son and her mother, Joanne Sagona, 66, WPTV reported.
Security cameras from the gas station showed a violent struggle between a man police said was Jean and the Jaime Sagora, who was the driver of the Acura, the Sun-Sentinel reported. She was pulled out of the car, and her brother exited the Acura but was unable to resist due to a medical condition, Martin County Sheriff William Snyder told TCPalm.
"Somebody is pointing a gun at your face, I think that's the time to comply," Snyder told the Sun-Sentinel.
Jean then pushed Jaime Sagora down and drove off, with the infant and Joanne Sagora still in the car, WPEC reported.
Jaime Sagona was knocked to the ground and dragged several feet, according to WPTV She suffered minor injuries to her hand and forearm, the television station.
"She did not give up. She did not stop fighting until he pushed her," Snyder told WPEC. "That was a mama bear."
According to an incident report, investigators said Jean dropped off the baby and Joanne Sagora about a mile down the road before fleeing south after the woman persuaded him to let them get out at another gas station.
"I was like, 'How do I survive?'" Joanne Sagona, told WPLG. "I said, 'OK, please pull over. Stop. I will take the baby, get out and you can keep going.'"
Joanne Sagona called 911 after Jean drove away, the television station reported.
Detectives from Martin County, Miami-Dade County, and the U.S. Marshals Service worked through the night to identify Jean's location, and he was arrested Monday in North Miami after leaving a home, WPTV reported. Jean was driving a different vehicle, the television station reported.
Jean was returned to Martin County, where he is being held in lieu of $400,00 bail, the television station reported.
“He’s got two life felonies, kidnapping and armed carjacking. He does face life in prison,” Snyder said at a news conference Monday.
Joanne Sagona said the family was relieved and felt fortunate after the stressful incident
"You can recover from that," Sagona told WPLG. "You don't recover from a gunshot right in the face, 2 inches away. So we got lucky."
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