We all know the song and dance about never, ever leaving your baby unattended in a vehicle, not even for a second. But what about a 9-year-old and a 13-year-old sitting innocently in their mother’s car in front of their house, waiting for a ride to school?
Two brothers, 9-year-old Kemuel McNeil and 13-year-old Londell Smith, were carjacked at gunpoint as they sat in their mother’s GMC Yukon on Wednesday morning before school. The carjacking occurred directly in front of the brothers’ home in Pinole, California, as their mother, Latrice Hayes, was gathering her belongings from the house.
Older brother Londell recounts the terrifying incident: “They was like, ‘Get out the car, get out the car.’ I stared at him for, like, one second, then he pointed the gun at me, and I was like, ‘Oh snap.’ So I had to think fast, and I had to get my brother out quick.”
Younger brother Kemuel says the carjackers forced him out of the car and punched him “really hard” in the arm. Authorities believe the carjackers drove up to the parked SUV left running in front of the house, pointed a semi-automatic handgun at the kids and stole the vehicle. When Hayes left the house to take the kids to school, she realized her car was gone.
According to Hayes, “My kids were running from the sidewalk to me, crying and yelling my name out and stuff, saying, ‘Mama, Mama, we just got carjacked.'”
Since the early-morning carjacking, police were able to recover the stolen SUV and arrest four suspects, with one more suspect at large. Authorities confirmed the alleged criminals had been tied to another carjacking and several robberies that took place earlier in the day in the county.
Thankfully this story has a happy ending. Both young children were unharmed. But after an event like this occurs, it isn’t just an open-and-shut case. Young Kemuel says he was “horrified” and now doesn’t even feel comfortable playing at school. Londell adds that while being held at gunpoint, he truly believed he was going to die.
Kids should never have to feel this way. Because of crimes like this, our world is becoming a place where parents feel pressured to watch their children every second of the day, just in case the worst happens. Hayes made a decision any parent of a 9- and 13-year-old would make — she didn’t helicopter her kids because she believed her street to be safe.
It’s outrageous to think two older children can’t wait in front of their own house for even a few minutes without the threat of danger. Hayes says she will never leave her kids alone again.