DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Lisa Haynes of Dallas knows how it feels to need a Good Samaritan. “It’s horrible, it’s heartbreaking.”
Ten years ago, Haynes was carjacked at gunpoint in the middle of the afternoon. The suspect rear-ended her car as a ruse to get her stopped. As she reached for her insurance information, she says a fist came through the window, and in it was a gun.
“He put the gun to my head, tried to pull the trigger, and later I found out that the only reason he didn’t have any bullets was because he had shot four other people. I was part of a spree.” Haynes says she owes her life to a Good Samaritan, so she would, of course, stop to help someone else in need. But, self-defense experts say it’s important to be smart about it—and Haynes agrees.
“There’s not enough awareness out there,” says Ryan Parrott, with Trident Response Group. Parrott is a former Navy SEAL who now teaches both military police and civilians to stay safe. He says it’s important to first acknowledge that you can become a victim—then have a plan if trouble still erupts.
Just this week, in Richardson, Garland and Fort Worth, Good Samaritans were attacked and or robbed as they came to the aid of strangers.
On Saturday, a woman in Richardson was lured from her vehicle by a man claiming to need help with his hurt dog. The woman had the presence of mind to grab her pepper spray and used it to escape when the man tried to drag her into some nearby woods. The suspect is still at large.
Parrott says it’s best to avoid danger. But, if attacked, he says even an unarmed woman can buy precious seconds to escape. For example, if jumped from behind, stomping on the attacker’s instep with the heel of your foot, he says, would likely break that bone.
“So when they get surprised for a second, they’ll go into a couple of seconds of shock and those couple of seconds are all you need to get away,” says Josh Lewis, also with Trident.
On Wednesday, a woman in Garland with three children in the car, rolled down her window to help two men she thought had been involved in an accident. What she didn’t know was that the men were accused of causing the crash as they ran from police. She was nearly carjacked after police say one of the suspects ripped the window out of her car. Both men were arrested at the scene.
Then on Thursday in Fort Worth, two men were arrested and charged with aggravated robbery after claiming to have trouble—only to then rob the couple that stopped to help.
Experts say it’s best to call police and send them to the location if someone you don’t know needs help.
“If they’re a stranger and you don’t know them… that means get out of there,” says Parrott.