How do you respond when you are a victim of armed robbery?
I keep asking myself this ever since it happened yesterday, and I have come up with a few answers, but none of the answers are things I want to hear.
So let me describe what happened, and maybe the WWW can help me out.
How I ended up with a gun pointed at my face:
I taught my after school activity which was a dance workout. I was wearing my favorite baggy t-shirt that says, “I’m a Teacher, what’s your super power?” and some yoga pants.
Around 4:15 or so I drove the 15 minutes (should have been 6 but I got lost) from my school to the Embassy Suites (owned by Hilton).
I parked my car in front of the main entrance to the hotel and went inside for 5-10 minutes to pay for my room for tomorrow night’s Parent Teacher Social.
I started to drive back home, and a block away from the hotel (next to the Beverly Shopping Center) at a GIANT intersection, I tried to make a left turn. Because by this point it was the beginning of rush hour traffic I was stopped at the very center of the intersection as I waited for cars to let me turn.
Just as the cars slow down and I begin to pull forward, a guy on a motorcycle races up from behind me, stops right in front of my left headlight, and refuses to move. I am just yelling at him in English to “Please move!”, with my windows rolled up, and my nearly black tinted windows so he probably can’t see me. Then I notice he is pointing a gun right at me.
Because the cars are now impatient with me not making my left turn the other cars just drive around us as the guy is pointing his gun at me. I remember thinking that everyone told me to give the bad guys what they want, but how could I get out of the car in the middle of a GIANT intersection during rush hour traffic! So instead I try to run into the motorcycle’s back tire.
The motorcycle goes forward just enough for me to not do him any harm. He then leans his motorcycle into my door so he can make a giant scrap from my headlight to my driver’s door handle. Then he bangs on my window with his fist and points his gun at me.
I don’t want to look at it so I swerve around another car in the intersection and try to speed up to get away.
ONLY TO BE STOPPED BECAUSE TRAFFIC ISN’T MOVING.
I’m breathing fast at this point thinking that the guy might have gone in a different direction, but I start yelling out loud to myself in my car once I realize that he has followed me on the two lane highway and he is now pounding on my driver’s side window again.
I refuse to look at him because I AM DRIVING IN RUSH HOUR TRAFFIC and I can’t do anything but go forward. I am so frustrated that the cars aren’t going faster that I start blasting my car horn.
Then I realize that he is starting to back off so I keep honking the horn until I notice that he and another guy on a motorcycle riding next to him take a right immediately after the bridge I was trying to cross.
I hear him yell something that sounds like “despues” that makes me think he will come looking for me later.
I then blindly drive toward the hills near my house while calling my friend.
She tells me not to go home, but every time I see another motorcycle drive past I freak out again and I just want to get off the street. So against her advice and my better judgment, I go to the apartment, park in our gated parking garage and wait for my friend to meet me to go over to her house.
We hash it out and go over all the little details and this is all that I can come up with to explain why I was a target:
- I was driving by myself.
- I am a female.
- I look like a gringa
- I was just at one of the nicest hotels around so maybe they followed me.
- I was driving an average car that is easy to find parts for so maybe they wanted to sell it for parts.
- I have really dark tinted windows so maybe they thought I actually have money.
- They just wanted the car
So my question is what do I do now?
I have a giant scratch down the side of my car. I feel unsafe driving. It was only a few minutes from my apartment. I am returning to the same area tomorrow for a school event.
The only thing I can do is not drive for a couple weeks, try to not go out by myself, get my car fixed, and try to just live my life without fear. I even asked my school if they thought I could file a report with the police, but because the guy had a helmet that covered half his face, was wearing a black jacket so I couldn’t see any tattoos, just had a crappy old motorcycle, and I can’t remember his license plate there is nothing for me to report.
Does anyone have any answers?! How likely is it that this will happen to me again in the same city? How do people get over the fear of driving again? How do people get over the fear of motorcycles? How do people live in the same community where violent acts have been committed against them? What can I do to avoid this happening again?