“I don’t even want to live here no more. I don’t feel safe,” Gavata Smith told Fox 5 D.C.
Smith said the carjacking occurred Saturday around 1:30 a.m. in Southeast D.C. after she moved her car on a parking lot. As she walked back to her home, two men reportedly approached her while pointing a gun and demanding she hand over her keys.
“Within seconds, the guys were up on me. Soon as I hit the alarm to my car, there was a tall Black guy, he showed me his gun. He said, ‘let me get them keys up off you,’ and I said ‘what?’ and he said ‘yeah, give me them keys,’ and I just started backing up,” Smith said. “The gun wasn’t pointed up at me, it was kind of slightly down at me.”
Her house and car keys were stolen, but police were able to locate her car a few blocks away. Police are currently investigating the crime, as well as two other carjackings that occurred that same night.
Smith said the incident has left her feeling unsafe in her own city.
“I am not well. I have been like talking to my therapist,” Smith said.
“I don’t know how you just go on and live this with having a gun pulled on you with your dear loved ones like only seconds away,” Smith said.
She also called on local officials to “attack the problem” of carjackings.
“It seems like a lot of the carjackings are occurring from teenagers so attack the problem. Put a curfew in place,” she said.
D.C. carjackings have spiked by nearly 74% in 2021 compared to the prior year, with the city reporting more than 186 carjackings since January.
Mayor Muriel Bowser has not responded to multiple requests for comment on the carjackings and plans on how to fight them, but D.C. police revealed last week they launched a carjacking task force using “bait cars” to catch suspects in the city.
One particularly violent carjacking made national headlines in March when teenaged girls were arrested in the murder of an Uber Eats driver during an attempted carjacking.
Neither of the girls in the case were charged as adults, which raised questions on why such a vicious crime did not bring harsher consequences. Both were sentenced to juvenile detention until they turn 21.
Many of the perpetrators and suspects of D.C. carjackings are teenagers, including in a case this month when officers arrested three young girls – aged 12, 14 and 16 – for a botched carjacking attempt where they allegedly used a Taser on the victim.