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Fiesta Bowl fan kidnapped and nearly killed in north Phoenix

Posted at 11:58 PM, Dec 30, 2019

PEORIA, AZ — A man in town for the Fiesta Bowl was carjacked, kidnapped, robbed, and nearly executed in a Peoria field.

The 32-year-old from San Diego is now hospitalized after being shot in the back.

Three teenagers have been arrested for the crimes, including two minors, a 16-year-old and 17-year-old. The only adult involved in the violent crime spree is Roderick Smith, 18, who is an already convicted felon according to the police report.

The violence began as the victim, Anthony, was sleeping in his car outside an apartment complex near 44th Street and Baseline. Anthony told detectives he woke up to three people outside the vehicle, pointing a gun at his face. He tried to give them his car and walk away, but the suspects allegedly pushed him into the backseat and drove him around for over an hour, forcing him to make withdraws at ATM machines.

The suspect, Smith, later confessed to police that he took out $300 to $600 in cash, according to the police report.

Police say after the teens got the cash, they drove to the area of 71st Avenue and Greenway Road and told Anthony to get out of the car.

He told his sister he heard the men whispering before they forced him out of the car near an open field.

"They told him to keep backing up, and pointed the gun at him and then they just said something about, 'It's over.' And he said, 'Just take me home,' and they started shooting," said Anthony's older sister, Michelle.

"It sounded like five or six [gunshots]," said Sandy Rees, a nearby neighbor. "Then I heard arguing and two more shots."

Anthony, a huge Ohio State fan, was still in his Buckeyes sweatshirt when he hobbled to Scott Sanders' house across the street from Rees, and a few hundred yards from where he nearly died.

"We heard pounding on our front door, and then after that, the gentleman ran," said Sanders, who was still waking up and considering grabbing his gun when Anthony took off.

He did not know it yet, but one bullet had entered through his back, hit his pelvis and ended up lodged in his abdomen.

Adrenaline was racing through as Anthony hopped multiple fences to run towards the next house with a light on, hoping to find someone to call 911 and summon police and an ambulance.

He stumbled up frantically to Jerry's Ring doorbell and pressed it just as the firefighter's 5 a.m. alarm was going off.

"Who is it," yells Jerry.
"It's Anthony. I've been shot."
"Who's Anthony?"
"Call 911!"
"Who's Anthony?"
"Just call 911! I've been shot, I swear to God."
"Get the **** out of here," said Jerry, who readily admits he thought Anthony was more likely on drugs than actually shot.

"The posture I took in that moment was to make sure my family was okay," said Jerry. "I took a very pessimistic approach."

The longtime fireman immediately called 9-1-1 and made sure Anthony stayed in the front yard and did not run to any other homes.

"I could tell, he was hurt in some way shape or form. I couldn't see any blood through his shirt, but I was starting to see it show up in random spots on the patio," he said.

At one point Anthony yelled to Jerry "I'm going to die."

"He told me he had been shot seven times. Obviously, I could tell that hadn’t happened, but that was his best guess as to how many times someone had shot at him," said Jerry.

Paramedics and deputies eventually arrived and rushed Anthony to a nearby hospital where he is recovering.

Roderick Smith, meanwhile, allegedly confessed to the carjacking, kidnapping and says he heard the other teens fire shots.

"He feels very lucky to be alive but he is extremely traumatized," said Anthony's sister, Michelle.

"I'm glad to hear he's okay, and I'm glad to hear he's righteous dude," said Jerry.