Women order armed robber 'out in Jesus' name'

Masked gunmen flees after Lake City women at house party begin chanting

Published On: Jan 30 2013 04:54:36 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 28 2013 05:42:20 AM EST
LAKE CITY, Fla. -

A masked gunman who attempted to rob a group of women inside a Lake City home Friday night may have got more than he bargained for.

Lake City police say Derek Lee, 24, entered a house on Lakeview Avenue where the homeowner had 14 women over for a jewelry party.  Police say Lee was wearing a dark ski cap on his head along with a bandana across his face. He allegedly showed a gun and ordered the women to hand over their money and phones.

One woman who thought it was a party gag pushed his hand aside while laughing saying, "It's only a water gun." Police say Lee (pictured, right) held the gun to that woman's head and said, "I'm not joking, I'm going to shoot someone, give me your money."

Jacquie Hagler, who owns the house, says she then put her faith into action.

"When I realized what was going on, I stood up and said, 'In the name of Jesus, get out of my house now.' And he said, 'I'm going to shoot someone.' And I said it again, real boldly," Hagler said. "Everybody started chanting, 'Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,' and he did a quick scan of the room, and ran out the door as fast as he could go."

Lee is also being investigated for an attempted robbery at a nearby ATM that happened moments prior to the home invasion.

Police say based off of the description given by the victims, investigators were able to identify Lee and place him in a photo lineup.  Several of the ladies at the jewelry party pointed out Lee, who was arrested at his home at 11:17 p.m. Friday.

Lee was booked into the Columbia County Detention Center for home invasion robbery and held on a $200,000 bond.

Hagler says she hopes Lee eventually gets the message.

"I have forgiven him and prayed for his salvation,” said Hagler. "I'm hoping this situation has led him to trust the lord and turn his life around."