ORANGE PARK, Fla. – A 25-year-old Clay County mother said she was shaken up and paranoid Thursday after two boys who begged her for a ride to school carjacked her at gunpoint.
"They were, like, 'Please, we don’t want to be late for school. We don’t want to get in trouble,'" said the woman, who didn't want her name used. "They kept insisting, so finally I gave in after getting this awful feeling, so I let them in and my mom called me back, so they knew I was on the phone with somebody."
Feeling something wasn't right, she said she kept her windows down and her phone connected as she drove through the Oakleaf neighborhood where she thought she was in view of security cameras.
"He pulled out a gun and pointed it at my head and was like, 'Get the f out of the truck.' And my adrenaline just started kicking over. I glanced over to my left and happened to see a Clay County officer coming into my neighborhood, so I immediately slapped the gun away, gunned the truck while blaring my horn."
A deputy was in the area investigating car burglaries. She parked the SUV near them, jumped out of her Expedition and ran toward the deputy. At that point, the boys took off in her SUV.
Deputies said they quickly blocked Stonewood Way, a dead-end street in the Stonebrier neighborhood, and the boy, who still had the handgun on him, was arrested.
The second juvenile ran off and wasn't found. Deputies said there were dozens of children in the area headed to school, so the boy could have blended in while trying to escape.
About the same time about two miles away, Orange Park police arrested several people in a stolen car stopped on Wells Road. Officers told News4Jax that the armed carjacking and the stolen car case are connected.
It's unclear if one of the people taken into custody at the second traffic stop was the juvenile who got away from the carjacking scene.
"The main thing is, my daughter safe, said the victim's father," Greg Cook. "I could care less about a vehicle."
According to the Clay County School District, students in nearby schools were safe during the investigation. Spokeswoman Nicole Snyder released the following statement:
"Plantation Oaks Elementary was placed on a precautionary lockdown this morning due to police activity in the area from 8:14 a.m to 8:50 a.m. This lockdown was made out of an abundance of caution as there is no immediate threat to the school. Plantation Oaks Elementary is the only school that was placed on lockdown this morning. All other Oakleaf area schools are aware of the active investigation and are working with the sheriff's office and district staff as we all closely monitor the situation."