Couple carjacked at gunpoint on wedding anniversary

Posted at 6:10 PM, Dec 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-20 07:28:35-05

What should have been the Walsh's special day -- their 39th wedding anniversary -- turned into a terrifying close call.

"I came close to being shot and killed on my anniversary," William Walsh said.

Saturday afternoon, he and his wife Karen were carjacked at the Core Specialty Hospital near 19th Avenue and Glendale Avenue in Phoenix. 

While Karen was inside, William stayed in the car, getting out for a moment to stretch his legs only about ten feet away from his car. That's when a man bolted into his car.

"He pulled a gun out and he said, 'If you don't get back I'll shoot you,'" William said. 

The man took off in their 2014 brown Scion XB, robbing the couple of their credit cards, IDs, and keys to their other car, but also stealing their sense of safety.

"Waking up at night -- if you sleep -- because you know somebody has access to your house,” Karen said. 

As the thief made his way down to south Phoenix in the stolen car, he tried making big purchases at Target, Ross, and Frys near 24 Street and Baseline Road. The couple received alerts of the activity through their banks.

William feels they were targeted and the man must have been watching, waiting for an opportunity.

Now, as holiday shoppers fill mall parking lots around the Valley this week, they want others to be alert. 

"This guy is armed, he's dangerous,” Karen said.

They describe the thief as being a Hispanic man in his late 20s who was bald with a mustache and had a light complexion. 

Phoenix police confirmed an incident report, and they are actively investigating. Anyone with information should call Phoenix police.

The Core Specialty Hospital, where the carjacking occurred, released a statement from their CEO Kurt Loveless, that reads in part:

“While we understand that incidents like this can occur anywhere, this bold attack is not typical for our facility. We are investigating how an incident occurred in our parking lot despite onsite security personnel and a network of security cameras around the hospital and will make adjustments to ensure our patients, employees and guests feel safe visiting our facility.”

Core Specialty Hospital added that where the victims were not parked in view of surveillance cameras.