GREENSBURG (KDKA) — State police are investigating an attempted carjacking at knifepoint in the parking lot of a crowded store in Westmoreland County.
Christina Gootz says she’s very lucky after the frightening encounter Thursday afternoon in the parking lot of the Walmart in Greensburg.
“I had my 4-year-old son with me, which all I kept thinking is, ‘This man going to take me, take my son,’” Gootz said. “This world is so sick.”
Gootz and her little boy had just left Walmart. She put her son in their van when a stranger, identified as Ronald Schlissler Jr., jumped in beside her.
“When I turned and I looked at this man, I started screaming. He had a knife in his hand and kept threatening to slit my throat,” she said.
The next few minutes seemed like an eternity as Gootz and Schlissler jostled with one another.
“He’s holding the knife,” she said, “and I grabbed my steering wheel and started screaming. I don’t understand why no one came [to help].”
The threats continued until Gootz said she was able to grab the knife and push Schlissler out of the van.
Schlissler managed to take off the shirt he was wearing at the time of the attack, and put on a “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” shirt.
Alex Regina was one of several people who helped catch the suspect when he walked inside the store.
“I went to the sporting goods section, grabbed a bat and flushed him out,” Regina said. “We and several other customers waited until police got there.”
Schlissler is in the Westmoreland County Prison, facing nine charges including attempted carjacking, kidnapping, robbery, and making terroristic threats.