Mothers recall teens terrifying ordeal in robbery

Published 4:46 pm Friday, January 30, 2009

The mother of a teenage girl robbed at gunpoint in Fort Deposit on Jan. 16 recalled her daughter’s frantic phone call as she and her friend attempted to flee their attackers.

Kaye Nolan, mother of Melissa Nolan, 19, told The Lowndes Signal she answered the phone and all she could hear was her daughter screaming, “Momma, come help me!”

Earlier, the two teenage girls – along with two 16-year-old male neighbors – had stopped at a convenience store. While inside, Kay Nolan said her daughter and friends noticed some men staring at them. After leaving the store and turning onto Bates Cutoff Rd. a black SUV pulled alongside and forced the teenagers off the road, according to Lowndes County Sheriff Chip Williams.

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“The vehicle maneuvered the victim’s car to run off the road,” Williams told The Selma-Times Journal. “The victims reported four males got out the car and began shooting at their vehicle.”

Kim Harris, mother of Nolan’s friend and the driver of the vehicle, told the The Journal her daughter called her at approximately 11:30 p.m. that night. She said the attack happened five to 10 minutes after the phone call.

“When the four men got out of the SUV, they had guns in their hands,” Harris said. “They stepped back and began shooting. When they did, my daughter ducked and tried to drive off, but ran into a ditch.”

The Journal reported the wreck broke the back window of the victim’s car and allowed two 16-year old males to escape. However, the two females were stuck in the car because the door was blocked and because of the gunfire.

“The two boys ran off into the woods,” Harris said. “They thought the girls were behind them, but didn’t realize they weren’t until it was later. It ended up saving the girls’ lives.”

One boy was able to call 911.

During that time, the four suspects allegedly approached the girls and demanded money. A car passed by and one of the passengers knew one of the girls and stopped, but the suspects reportedly shot at him, shattering a windshield, according to The Signal. The driver left and Kaye Nolan told The Signal the driver of that vehicle suffered an eye injury and would need surgery to remove glass from the eye.

Harris told The Journal the suspects’ SUV stalled at the scene of the crime.

“They made my daughter get her car out of the ditch,” she said.

The suspects left the scene in the victim’s car, but also left the black SUV at the scene. The girls made their escape unharmed.

Authorities recovered the victim’s car shortly after midnight and also had a suspect in custody.

Deputies arrested Jihad Walker, 18, and interviewed him about the incident.

“We obtained warrants and arrested the other suspects,” Williams said. “Right now we are interviewing the suspects and they have given no other reason other than robbery for the crime.”

Authorities also arrested Torie Wilson, 22; James Steiner, 19, and Wayne Ware, 24, and charged all four suspects with two counts of robbery first degree, one count of theft of property first degree and shooting into an occupied vehicle.

The suspects now face two Class-A felonies, which are punishable by 20 to 99 years in prison if convicted, and two Class-B felonies, which could mean imprisonment between 10 to 20 years if found guilty.

Melissa Nolan is a 2008 graduate of Fort Dale Academy. – Selma-Times Journal reporter Katie Nichols and Lowndes Signal correspondent Barbara Evans contributing.