By Vickie Thomas

DETROIT (WWJ) – A Detroit woman who was recently carjacked says crime in the city has spiraled out of control.

It was a week ago that life changed for Sharlonda Buckman, CEO of the Detroit Parent Network.

“It’s actually surreal,” Buckman told WWJ’s Vickie Thomas. “I think back at that moment when I saw this gun pointed to me and just realizing what was actually happening, and I screamed.”

Buckman was at the BP gas station at Jefferson and Montclair when a gunman forced her out of her car.

Calvin Kirkland, whose being honored for his bravery Thursday in Lansing, and two other men came to Buckman’s rescue. The men distracted the carjacker long enough for Buckman to run into the gas station to phone police. Meanwhile, Kirkland, who has a concealed weapons permit, followed the carjacker.

The carjacker eventually drove Buckman’s vehicle into a canal near the Detroit River. An exchange of gunfire ensued and Kirkland was shot in the arm. The suspect, who is still at large, then fled the scene in Kirkland’s vehicle.

“He’s the only one of the three that I actually haven’t met in person because it was just so emotional for me that he would take a bullet for somebody else. I, you know, just kept worrying about him,” Buckland said.

Acknowledging that her life will never be the same, Buckman said the whole incident might have changed her outlook for the better.

Sharlonda Buckman (Credit: Vickie Thomas/ WWJ Newsradio 950)

Sharlonda Buckman (Credit: Vickie Thomas/ WWJ Newsradio 950)

“You just re-think your whole life. If that was it for me, would I have been happy at how I spent all of my time? And the answer was no,” she said breaking into tears. “So now, I’ve spent more time with my kids, I’ve gone to see friends, one of who had been sick and I took some of the flowers that I got to her.”

Buckman said she’s lucky she made it out alive, but she knows many others who might find themselves in her position aren’t as fortunate. Now, Buckman said she’s personally invested to see changes in how the city deals with crime.

“We have to get a hell of a lot more aggressive in terms of our police department and dealing with [carjacking]. This has happened up and down Jefferson,” she said.

When James Craig began leading the city’s police department last summer, he said he found that carjacking was “almost like a way of life in Detroit.” So far this year, there have been nearly 600 carjacking in the city, according to a police spokesperson.


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