Would-be good Samaritan helps carjacker attacked by bystanders

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Surveillance video from a north Houston strip center parking lot shows an attempted carjacking with people trying to help, but it doesn't begin to describe the drama and confusion.

Last month, a woman from Georgia and her two young children flew to Houston for her niece's graduation the next day. They arrived at Bush airport, got a rental car, and drove to meet a friend who also flew in for the same graduation.

The rendezvous point was a parking lot on W. Mt. Houston Road at the North Freeway.

"I was standing outside my rental car, talking to my friend, when she saw a man jump into the driver's seat. She was banging on the window and saying there are kids in there. Obviously, he didn't care," she said.

Bystanders at a nearby taco stand heard the commotion and ran to help. The suspect put the car in reverse and struck one of them. By then, the mom ran to the car, and hit the unlock button on the remote key. The door was pulled open, and the suspect was pulled from the driver's seat.

HPD Robbery Senior Officer Jeff Bieden said the bystanders were restraining the suspect when another man drove up and saw what he thought was a fight, not realizing the person they were trying to control was the suspect. He tried to break up the fight, and the others thought he was trying to help the robber get away.

"They turned their attention to him, and started hitting him, which allowed the suspect to get into the car with the getaway driver," he said. Initially, the man who thought he was breaking up a fight was taken into custody, thought to be connected to the incident. He was later released, and no charges were filed.

The good Samaritan who tried to stop the about-to-be stolen car from leaving with the children inside paid a price. Arturo, who asked he not be fully identified, was struck by the car when the robber was backing up, thrown to the ground, and knocked unconscious. Then, one of the back tires ran over his arm.

His lower arm still swollen, and his neck still hurting, he reflected on responding to the cries of a screaming mother. "I'd do it again because there were children involved," he said.

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