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Published: Sunday, 2/26/2012

Carjacked WWII vet says no one helped


DETROIT -- A World War II veteran said nobody helped him immediately after he was attacked and carjacked during daylight at a busy Detroit gas station and he crawled across a parking lot to get help.

A roughly four-minute surveillance video shows 86-year-old Aaron Brantley struggling to get from the fuel pump to the gas station's door as people walked and drove by him Wednesday morning.

Mr. Brantley said several people passed by him as he crawled, unable to walk because his leg was broken in the attack. The carjacker knocked down Mr. Brantley, took his keys, and drove away in his car about 10:40 a.m.

"I was trying to go in … and see if somebody could call the police and an ambulance because I couldn't stand. I had to crawl -- I tried two or three times to get up," Mr. Brantley said Saturday.

He said he was on his way home from a Bible study when he stopped to put gas into his 2010 Chrysler 200, which he recently bought to replace a car that had been stolen.

"People were passing me just like I wasn't there. … I was crawling and they just walked by me like I'm not there," he said.

Mr. Brantley said that as he approached the building, he asked a woman to open the door for him. He said at first it appeared she wasn't going to but she did and then kept walking.

Station manager Haissam Jaber said he didn't see the attack but called 911 after a customer alerted him. As Mr. Brantley waited for an ambulance, he offered money to a stranger to drive him to his house a few blocks away. The customer refused the money and drove Mr. Brantley home, where an ambulance took him to the hospital.

Mr. Jaber said violent crime isn't common at the gas station, which is next to the University of Detroit Mercy campus. Sgt. Eren Stephens, a Detroit police spokesman, said there have been no arrests.

The Detroit Free Press reported that a man found Mr. Brantley's phone number in his Bible on the stolen car's front seat and called him. The car had been abandoned hours later and a few miles away with its wheels and radio missing.

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