8/05/2009

Schoolteacher exchanges gunfire with carjackers

Defensive gun use in Georgia.

A DeKalb County schoolteacher carjacked early Sunday scored a measure of revenge against his attackers -- thanks in part to their poor sense of direction.

Derek Harper, 47, had just returned to his Lithonia home around 1:15 a.m. when two unidentified gunmen surprised him from behind, forcing the Evansdale Elementary teacher out of his car and onto the ground, demanding money.

“After they figured out I didn’t have any cash on me they got into my van,” he said. His narrow garage helped Harper sneak away.

“One of them was having trouble getting into the passenger’s side, so while he was doing that I took off,” said Harper, also the assistant track coach at Stephenson High.

As he ran the gunmen started firing, striking Harper once in the arm before speeding off in his van, heading directly toward a dead end on Phillips Place.

Knowing they’d be forced to turn around, Harper ran inside and grabbed his .380 pistol.

“I was waiting for them,” he said. Harper estimates he fired two to three bullets, which might have contributed to the driver crashing the van less than a block away. A small amount of blood was found inside the vehicle. . . . .

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