Daytona woman, 64, holds suspect in yard at gunpoint…

Posted: January 25, 2012 in Uncategorized
Karen Granville with the .38 revolver she used to hold a suspect until police arrived at her Daytona Beach home Tuesday. (N-J | David Massey)
Willis

DAYTONA BEACH — A 22-year-old car theft suspect tried to elude police Tuesday morning, but was stopped in his tracks when he was confronted by a gun-toting 64-year-old woman.

“I was not going to let him go,” said Karen Granville, who lives on Redwood Street. “I just held my gun in my right hand until the police arrested him.”

Granville helped authorities nab Roderick Willis after he led them on a short chase. He was suspected of driving a stolen vehicle, authorities said.

Daytona Beach police were looking for a stolen vehicle about 3 a.m. Tuesday when a Volusia County sheriff’s deputy spotted an orange Dodge Charger traveling west on Sixth Street. The deputy tried to stop the vehicle, but a chase quickly ensued, according to a report from the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.

A sheriff’s helicopter tracked the suspect to Redwood Street, where deputies say Willis ditched the vehicle in the driveway in front of Granville’s home.

Granville said she was up late because her cat had rousted her. She was watching the Bravo channel when she heard a sheriff’s helicopter hovering above her house.

Moments later, she said she saw Willis run into her backyard and try to scale her fence. Granville grabbed her .38 Special revolver and followed him.

“My adrenaline was just flowing at 100 mph,” she said. “I just said, ‘Stop right there (expletive), or you’re going to be dead where you stand.”

Granville held the man at gunpoint until police arrived.

Willis was charged with fleeing and eluding law enforcement, driving with a suspended license, use of a vehicle to commit a felony, possession of marijuana, possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute. He was booked into the Volusia County Branch Jail on Tuesday and released after posting $7,500 bail.

Willis, who could not reached by phone Tuesday night, spent time in jail last year for fleeing officers, court records show.

Volusia County sheriff’s officials say the Dodge Charger belonged to Hertz Rental Car Co. and was turned over to the company. Willis was not charged with vehicle theft.

This is the second time in less than two weeks older city residents have armed themselves to stop would-be criminals.

Charles Robbins, 82, shot and killed 24-year-old Tyler Orshoski after the man apparently tried to break into his home Jan. 11. (Read the story here.)

Police Chief Mike Chitwood said he doesn’t encourage vigilante justice but said people have the right to protect themselves or their property.

“They’re fed up with everything,” he said. “People have to do what they have to do.”

Granville said she had to drink a glass of wine after the incident to calm her nerves.

She said she hopes she never has to pull out her gun again.

“It was quite an experience,” she said. “I’m just glad I could help.”

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