‘I knew it was him, he was there:’ Lyft driver recalls carjacking

‘I knew it was him, he was there:’ Lyft driver recalls carjacking

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) -A Lyft driver says she fought for her life when two passengers robbed and carjacked her Friday night.

“I picked them up from an apartment - two minutes after driving down Lynhaven - Tony sticks a gun to the back of my head," explained Nicole Blanton.

Blanton says on Berwyn Street, the suspects made her stop the car and tried to prevent her from getting away.

“Tony walked around the car to the driver’s side of the car to keep me pinned in the car, and that’s when I started fighting like hell to get away,” she explained.

Blanton says she was able to run to a nearby neighborhood, banging on several doors until a couple allowed her to use their phone to call 911.

The next day, Blanton got a call she was not expecting.

“Saturday, around 4:30 p.m. I get a phone call saying my car had been used in commission of a felony in Hillside Court, and then my NBC app says a 3-year-old was shot," she said.

Richmond Police says Blanton’s White Kia Soul was seen speeding away from reports of shots fired on Rosecrest Avenue, just three hours after she was initially carjacked.

Just after 4 p.m. Saturday, 3-year-old Sharmar Hill Jr. was shot while playing outside of his home on Southlawn Avenue in Hillside Court. Witnesses report seeing a white car speeding away from the scene. Hill Jr. died at VCU Medical Center.

Antonio Harris has been charged with carjacking and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. He was arrested Sunday.

“As soon as I saw the mugshot I started crying, and I knew exactly who it was," said Blanton. “They took me in for a lineup, I started crying I said ‘that’s him, he was there.’”

Court records show Harris was out on bond for a November 2019 carjacking and felony eluding case, when he was arrested. While Harris is not charged in the death of Hill Jr. Richmond Police say more charges are possible.

“I don’t understand how the justice system lets him out if he has that many crimes," explained Blanton.

A quick search of Harris’ most recent criminal history, also reveals forgery, destruction of property, gun possession and felony eluding charges.

(Source: Richmond Police)

A search warrant of Blanton’s Kia reveals officers found three nine millimeters, and three 40 caliber cartridge cases in the car. The search warrant states the car was found near Southlawn Avenue.

“I just don’t want any more attention taken from this 3-year-old, I want the focus on him, his family deserves it," she said.

Copyright 2020 WWBT. All rights reserved.