'I'm going to kill you': Attempted carjacking leads to gun battle in West Philadelphia

Christie Ileto Image
Thursday, October 8, 2020
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A gunbattle broke out on the streets of Philadelphia during an attempted carjacking on Wednesday morning.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A gun battle broke out on the streets of West Philadelphia during an attempted carjacking on Wednesday morning.

It happened near 52nd and Girard streets at about 7:30 a.m. when a man approached Lonnie Kirkland, Jr. as he was getting out of his car.

"He said, 'I know you got a gun. I want that truck. I'm going to rob you and I'm going to kill you,''" recalled Kirkland.

"I thought he was joking and then I looked and saw the gun and I was like, 'Oh my God.'"

Keeping calm, the 74-year-old retiree, who had been trying to get his morning coffee, says he knew he had to act fast.

"Next thing my hand was on the door and I pushed the door open like this. And when I pushed his hand up, he fired two shots and they grazed my head," said Kirkland.

Kirkland, who has a permit to carry, then fired his weapon toward the gunman.

Nearly a dozen bullets punctured Kirkland's truck during the shootout. The suspect then fled on foot leaving only a jacket behind.

"I had never seen him before," said Kirkland, who was discharged from the hospital by Wednesday afternoon.

"If I hadn't done what I did, he probably would have shot me, he probably would have killed me," he said.

Police are still searching for the gunman.

Anyone with any information on the suspect is asked to call Philadelphia police.