Samaritans thwart man trying to carjack Pa. mom, 4-year-old

The Associated Press

GREENSBURG, Pa. — Several good Samaritans stepped in to help after a man tried to carjack a woman and her 4-year-old son at knifepoint in a Wal-Mart parking lot, police said.

Logo arrest

Ronald Schissler Jr., 42, of Grapeville, hopped into a van outside the store in Hempfield Township, about 25 miles east of Pittsburgh, on Thursday afternoon and threatened to slit the driver’s throat, state police said.

“I had my 4-year-old son with me, which all I kept thinking is, ‘This man is going to take me, take my son,’” Christina Gootz told KDKA-TV. “This world is so sick.”

Gootz grabbed her steering wheel, screamed, grabbed the knife and pushed Schissler out of the car as he was also grabbed by a bystander, witnesses said. The man, Joseph Tanyer, of Jeannette, told WPXI-TV: “I just opened (the door) and pulled the guy out and threw him onto the ground, and then she started screaming, ‘He has a knife, he has a knife,’”

Tanyer called Gootz a hero. “I think she was like a mother bear defending her cub,” he said.

Schissler then ran into the store, grabbed a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle shirt and put it on, apparently to change his appearance, authorities and witnesses said. Inside the store, he encountered at least three more people who helped track and subdue Schissler until police arrived.

One of the men, Josh Miles, and two others chased after Schissler until Miles caught the suspect running down an aisle.

“As he came toward me, I grabbed a woman’s loaded shopping cart,” Miles told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I wiped him out with the cart. He went down into a fetal position.”

Schissler was in the Westmoreland County jail Friday, awaiting a preliminary hearing May 27 on attempted kidnapping, attempted robbery and other counts. Online court records don’t list an attorney for him.