Attempted carjacking victim from U-Haul pursuit speaks out

Posted at 8:09 PM, Dec 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-31 00:27:06-05

A suspect in a U-haul led police on an insane chase that ended when the suspect tried to carjack a mom and her toddler on Thursday. 

On Friday, that mom told ABC15 that she was scared but was betting the suspect wouldn’t shoot her.

Gena Fotovich said she had no idea she had become part of the chase when the suspect pulled up beside her in a U-Haul. He jumped out and aimed a gun at her passenger window. 

“I cracked the window just a second and then I noticed the gun, and then I pushed up the window immediately,” said Fotovich. 

She was trapped at a stop light with her daughter, who is just one, in the back seat. Heavy traffic made her think twice before gunning her car through the red light on Tatum Boulevard at Mockingbird Lane. 

“It was one of those things," she said. "Do I go and get my daughter T-boned, myself T-boned and cause an accident for three or four different people? Or do I wait this out and see if he has the guts to shoot me?”

The chase came to a heart stopping ending when an undercover officer snuck up from behind. A Phoenix police sergeant with the Special Assignments Unit opened fire on the suspect, pulling the trigger at least six times. Police say the suspect’s gun turned out to be a realistic looking pellet gun.

However, at the time, Fotovich had no idea the gun was fake or that police were doing the real shooting.

“I just gunned it...and then I just heard all these rounds of shots go off, and I just thought it was him shooting at my vehicle,” said Fotovich. “I looked back at the baby and she was sleeping. But I had no idea, I mean I didn't know she was sleeping, I was like she could have been shot.”

Fotovich quickly realized police were on scene and returned to get help. She had officers look at her child and they confirmed everything was fine. She says the undercover officer saved her.

“Had those police officers not been there, who knows what would have happened to the baby,” she said. “The fact that they were there was life changing for me and for my daughter.”

Police said the suspect will survive being shot multiple times. He will be booked and identified once he’s out of the hospital.