Carjacking survivor offers thanks

The Smith's gas kiosk offered a refuge for a woman who survived a May 30 carjacking attempt in Gardnerville.

The Smith's gas kiosk offered a refuge for a woman who survived a May 30 carjacking attempt in Gardnerville.

The survivor of the May 30 carjacking said good Samaritans and their quick response is the reason she is alive today.

“I’m alive because of Douglas County,” she said.

When Tamitha Burgoon pulled into the Gardnerville Smith’s at 6:15 a.m. to get gas, little did she know she would help stop the two men who were allegedly involved with a homicide in Dresslerville an hour before.

“My husband always told me to be aware of my surroundings,’ she said. “So, when I pulled into Smiths, I noticed two men off to the side. They looked like they were waiting for someone.”

Burgoon said one of the men approached her at the pump and demanded she hand over her keys.

“I didn’t understand what he said at first, so I said ‘what did you say,’ and that’s when I noticed the gun pointed at my stomach,” she said. “He moved the gun up to my chest and said ‘give me your keys.’”

After finding and handing her keys over, she said she grabbed her wallet before taking off running and not looking back.

“I didn’t look back because I didn’t want my face blown off,” she said. “All I kept thinking about were my kids, my husband, my friends, I didn’t want anyone to have that image of me.”

She ran to the kiosk and banged on the door until the employee let her in.

“’Help me, there’s a man with a gun,’ I told him. After he let me in, he continued to protect me,” said Burgoon. “He has no idea what he did for not only me, but the other people around the area too.”

Burgoon said the employee got on the intercom and warned others at the pumps to get back into their vehicles because there was a man with a gun.

“I was shaking so bad I couldn’t even call 911, he did that for me too,” she said.

Burgoon said help arrived within minutes.

“They were so fast and everyone took the time to make sure that I was OK,” she said. “I think that was the most amazing part of the whole thing. Officers get such a bad rap all the time and don’t get as much appreciation as they should. All I can say is there are some good officers.”

While providing a statement, Burgoon said she could not say which way the men went, because they never drove off with her car and she didn’t see them run past the kiosk, either.

“That part is kind of funny because my car is a push start and so the guy was fumbling with the keys to try and get it to start and he even yelled at me to come back and help him, but of course I wasn’t going to go back,” said Burgoon, “so they must have just left it and then I knew they didn’t go west or south because they would have past the kiosk.”

Burgoon said a witness of the incident saw the men described and pointed the deputies in the direction of El Dorado Avenue where they were intercepted and arrested.

“I am not only alive because of the first responders, the Sheriff’s office and the FBI, I am alive because of the good Samaritans in our county,” said Burgoon.

Burgoon wanted to personally thank those who were quick to the scene and not only provided her with assistance and reassurance, but who also helped catch the suspects of the homicide.

She specifically mentioned Smith’s Kiosk employee Andrew Cruz, a witness of the incident who comforted Burgoon, The Douglas County initial responding deputies, including Sgt. Dave Stanley and Deputies Short, Marshall, DeRosa, Cadwallader, Kyeremeh and Carson. She also praised Sheriff Dan Coverely, Capt. Koontz, Investigator Scott Battcher, deputy district attorneys Chelsea Mazza and Shannon Simmons, Eric Anderson from the FBI, the forensics team and so many others.

“I just want to show my appreciation, “she said. “Andrew opened the door and saved my life, he did not have to open that door and a wonderful lady stopped and gave a really good description of the suspects, she did not have to stop. I appreciate everything that everyone did to save the next victim and myself. Thank you Douglas County for coming together to protect our citizens. I hope the family can at least have some justice.


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