July 25, 1995 in Nation/World

Carjacker Pops Trunk, Sees Only Gun Barrels Car Owner Says He Killed Suspect Only After Giving Warning

Cindy Elmore Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
 

Paul Brite didn’t have a gun when carjackers stole his Lexus on Monday morning. But he did after the robbers forced him into his Lexus’ trunk - the very place Brite stored a loaded revolver and a semiautomatic pistol.

Brite, 53, used those guns - one in each hand - after one of the carjackers opened the trunk. Police said the carjacker had stopped to check on Brite because he feared the man might have a cellular phone and was using it to call for help.

In the end, one of the carjackers, Carl Lee Reese, 21, lay dying in a puddle of blood. The other, Reese’s 17-year-old cousin, Mario Danele Sikes, 17, got away in a station wagon, but was caught within minutes after a description of the car was broadcast over police radios.

Brite “had two guns and he was blasting away with both of them,” said Jim Haire, who saw the shooting from the parking lot behind his business.

During the shooting, neighborhood children wanting to get in on the excitement began to circle Brite on their bicycles. Haire said he had to run into the street to chase the children away lest they be struck by the still-firing Brite.

Brite did not return phone calls for comment. Police said they do not plan to charge Brite, but will turn over the case to the Broward State Attorney’s Office for review.

Police said Brite told them he fired only after the carjacker refused to lay on the ground, then reached in his pocket as if to get a weapon, said police Sgt. Jeffery Maslan.

Brite “gave this guy an opportunity to stop what he was doing and get on the ground,” Maslan said. “You’re talking about a guy who had just had a gun pointed to his head and was put in the trunk of his car.

“We’re still wondering why (Brite) didn’t shoot (as soon as) the trunk was opened.”

According to police, Brite was forced out of his car at gunpoint as he drove slowly from a car wash around 7:20 a.m. Then, he was ordered into the trunk of his Lexus.

The carjacker drove the Lexus for about a mile, followed by his cousin in a blue station wagon.

Both cars turned onto a side street so that Reese could check on his victim in the trunk. Although the carjacker left his gun in the front of the Lexus, Brite may not have realized the carjacker was unarmed, Maslan said.

Police said Reese was previously arrested for carjackings.


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