PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon is speaking for the first time since she was carjacked at gunpoint in South Philadelphia’s FDR Park on Wednesday.
The congressmember’s car was stolen around 2:45 p.m. Wednesday and later recovered about five-and-a-half hours later and 30 miles away in a parking lot in Newark, Delaware. Five teenagers were arrested.READ MORE: Hyram Hill, Son Of Philadelphia Police Officer, Killed In Targeted Shooting In North Philly, Sources Say
The congressmember revealed during the heart-pounding incident that she had a gun pointed directly at her and she was stunned to see that the suspects appeared to be teenagers.
“It was a scary thing to have happen, but I’m extremely grateful no one was hurt,” Scanlon said.
Scanlon remembers the horrifying moments she was carjacked at gunpoint Wednesday afternoon at FDR Park.
“I had just finished walking the trails in the park with some of my team members and other officials to discuss the city’s ambitious plans to renovate the park,” Scanlon said.
Police say she was speaking with someone near her car, when an SUV pulled up next to them, essentially blocking them in.
Court documents show one suspect got out, “had a gun in his hand, raised the gun and pointed it directly at the congressmember’s chest, and demanded the keys to her vehicle.”
“I was scared that someone would do something even more stupid than trying to steal a car,” Scanlon said.
Scanlon’s car was found last night near Christiana Mall in Newark.
Four minors are now charged in connection to being in a stolen vehicle, but 19-year-old Josiah Brown, of Wilmington, faces federal charges after admitting his role to police.
When interviewed, Brown wrote an apology to Scanlon, saying he was sorry for stealing her car and pointing a gun at her.
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“I haven’t seen this letter, and I am too sorry that he pointed the gun at am,” Scanlon said.
Brown’s parents spoke with Eyewitness News on Thursday night. His father expressed his sympathies to the congressmember over what happened. He says he isn’t making any excuses, but he’s having a hard time getting in touch with his son.READ MORE: NJ Approves Company To Take Bets On Competitive Video Games
“He made a lot of bad decisions, but this right here, in my heart, I don’t think my son committed this crime,” Brown’s father said.
Where did his father think he was Wednesday?
“I believed that he was with his two children, his two sons,” his father said.
The father and stepmother, who asked not to be named, say the armed carjacking that unfolded at FDR Park Wednesday afternoon doesn’t fit Brown’s past charges. Those range from theft from a motor vehicle to receiving stolen property.
“If they believe that to be so, we just want that timeframe and how they came to that conclusion,” Brown’s stepmother said.
U.A. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams says carjacking is a federal crime.
“If you pick up a gun and use it to commit a crime, together, we will come after you,” she said. “And we are very good at what we do.”
Armed carjackings have been on the rise in Philadelphia with nearly 800 this year, more than double from last year.
“We know that some of them that were currently investigating do for an active pattern,” Philadelphia Police Chief Insp. Frank Vanore said.
Scanlon hopes the teens can learn from their mistakes, and she called out people politicizing this moment.
“Pretty despicable,” Scanlon said. “I wish they rather focus on the fact that we can prevent gun violence with common-sense gun safety measures.”
Officials also arrested and charged four minors — 13, 14, 15, and 16 years old — with being in a stolen vehicle. The FBI Task Force says they were able to track the car to Delaware using a GPS.
President Joe Biden called the congressmember to check on her. She said she was grateful for the call.MORE NEWS: Lawmakers Stalemated On Congressional Map, Top Senator Says
CBS3’s Matt Petrillo and Jasmine Payoute contributed to this report.