Gastonia police said a 70-year-old man was carjacked Thursday morning in the parking lot of Westfield Eastridge Mall before the 17-year-old suspect fled in the victim’s truck to Charlotte.
The suspect, identified as Tommy McCray, was arrested after he was involved in two wrecks as he fled from officers, Gastonia police said.
The reported carjacking occurred around 9:45 a.m. at Westfield Eastridge, which is located off New Hope Road near Interstate 85 in Gastonia.
Police said McCray assaulted the victim, a man from Connecticut, and knocked him down until he gave up the keys to his Chevrolet pickup. The suspect then took off on I-85 toward Charlotte, according to a news release from Gastonia police.
Lowell police soon spotted the stolen truck and began pursuing it. Gastonia and Charlotte-Mecklenburg police, as well as the N.C Highway Patrol were involved in the pursuit.
Police said that at some point, McCray wrecked, colliding with another vehicle. One person suffered minor injuries. It was not immediately clear where that wreck happened, but the collision was being investigated by the Highway Patrol.
Later, McCray hit a stop sign in the 900 block of Rowan Street in northwest Charlotte.
Police said Thursday’s carjacking was an uncommon event at Westfield Eastridge. The victim was treated for minor injuries, police said.
McCray is from Charlotte, police said, but he was living in Gastonia. He’d been reported missing from a group home there.
The teen now faces charges of larceny of a motor vehicle, common law robbery, assault inflicting serious injury, injury to personal property and fleeing to elude arrest.