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Carjacking victim: 'I've never in my life felt as helpless as I did that night'

Tory Hamlin says she was held at gunpoint, carjacked in Westside home's driveway

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A woman said she was held at gunpoint and carjacked Tuesday night in the driveway of her home in the Westridge Estates neighborhood on Jacksonville's Westside. 

Tory Hamlin told her story of survival to News4Jax Friday. She said after the carjacker left in her car then stopped and she thought he was coming back to kill her.

Hamlin said the incident only spanned four minutes. As soon as she had the chance, she ran over to the side of the house and hid behind a trash can.

"Basically, I was carjacked at gunpoint when I got home the other night," Hamlin said. "Completely helpless. I've never in my life felt as helpless as I did that night."

The kickboxing and women's self-defense instructor became a victim when she was carjacked in her own front yard.

"Everything that I've trained for, learned, taught myself, prepared -- none of it. It all went out the window," Hamlin said. "Funny thing is, I actually saw them walking down the sidewalk, on the other side of the road, when I pulled into the neighborhood. But it's so common to see kids walking at night because they play basketball at the church across the street, or whatever. And there are some kids who resemble that structure. When it's dark, it's hard to see specifics. I looked over, looked at them, smiled. They smiled back at me, like it was kids in the neighborhood. I drove down here, parked my car. Low and behold, I open my door and I have a gun to my head."

Hamlin said after he took her car, the carjacker was driving with the door open. But Hamlin's vehicle has a safety feature that causes the emergency brake to automatically come on if the car if being driven with the door open. 

The carjacker then got out and ran away to another car, Hamlin said. But at first, she thought he was running back toward her.

"'Oh my God, he's coming back here to kill me. He stopped in the middle of the road. Why would he stop? He's stealing my car. He's coming back here to kill me.' So, I immediately took off back here. Like, I crawled, actually," Hamlin said. "I crawled back here and I stopped right here and I looked. And I'm, like, 'OK. I can't get in my fence.'"

Hamlin was finally able to get the attention of her daughter by banging on the window, and her husband came running outside to see what was going on, and she said she felt safe again.

Four teenagers were taken into custody and arrested Thursday night after a police chase of two carjacked vehicles in Arlington, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said.

Hamlin said she needs closure and she's waiting to see if her carjacking is related the two others that took place Thursday night.