Tuskegee Airman Carjacked By Teens Outside Detroit Barber Shop

DETROIT (WWJ) – A World War II veteran who was carjacked by a group of young teens in Detroit is speaking out about the crime.

Jesse Rutledge, a decorated member of the Tuskegee Airmen, said the incident happened around 4 p.m. Saturday as he was leaving a barber shop at Harper and Van Dyke on the city’s east side. The 88-year-old said he was outside his 1999 Jeep Cherokee when four teenagers approached and one held a gun to his head.

“They come out and pulled a gun on me, but they were so little that I didn’t think nothing about it right then. Especially the one that had the gun, he was the littlest one. They all had hoods on and I was slow about getting my car key, and he flashed the gun and racked it back and said ‘Give me your keys or I’ll kill you,'” Rutledge said.

Police say Rutledge complied with the teens, who then fled the area in his vehicle. Rutledge then filed a report with police, who were able to track down the teens and bring them into custody by Sunday afternoon.

The teens — ages 13, 14, 15 and 16 — have all been charged in connection with the carjacking. A statement from the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office says the 15-year-old alleged gunman received a $75,000 bond, while the other teens each received a $50,000 bond. They’re due back in court for a pre-trial hearing on March 20.

Rutledge said he doesn’t understand why teens are committing such crimes.

“Not growing up like that, I couldn’t do no stuff like that. I didn’t walk around the hood looking for somebody to rob. I went out and did my work, my homework, and come back in the house,” he said.

“Their parents need to stay closer to them and pay more attention to what they do and how they do it. Why is a kid, 13-years-old, going around with a gun like that? They can’t grow up in life like that. How long they going to live,” he continued.

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