PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A Gulfport father is recovering from being shot in the arm while helping his son stop a carjacking suspect from getting away.
A 19-year-old man from Lagrange, Georgia is now behind bars facing multiple felony charges, including attempted murder.
The car’s owner declined an on-camera interview because of the pending court case, but he told News Channel 8 he managed to confront the suspect before he drove off because a family member spotted him on a home surveillance camera.
“I have cameras at every entry point just in case, you never know,” said Jenna, the victims’ next-door neighbor.
Jenna said her camera recorded the entire altercation that unfolded Monday night on 56th Street South.
“I heard people yelling and then saw the guy like reverse the car into the tree right there,” she said describing the video. “They were tussling or something in the car.”
According to court documents, the car’s owner confronted 19-year-old Vinyai Rice in the driver’s seat. During a struggle, Rice dragged the owner several feet before the car slammed into a tree.
Police said Rice pulled out a pistol stolen from Georgia after the victim’s father helped remove him from the car.
Even after police said Rice fired two shots – hitting the father in the upper left arm – they managed to keep him pinned down on the ground outside their home until officers arrived.
“If it was me, the suspect probably would have got away,” Jenna said. “If it was them, I’m glad they were able to catch him and whatnot.”
Locked up in the Pinellas County jail, Rice had a second appearance before a judge Wednesday afternoon. The judge appointed a public defender to represent him.
“There’s also an advisory for a fugitive out of Georgia charge,” Judge William Burgess III said. “Theft by taking. Bond is set at no bond.”
Court records show Rice had a prior arrest for motor vehicle grand theft.