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Baby rescued from overturned car stolen by armed suspect

The suspect was arrested near an elementary school on Eastway Drive.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Good Samaritans rescued a baby from an overturned car that was carjacked by an armed suspect in east Charlotte Thursday. 

The suspect, who was identified as 29-year-old Maurice Rakestraw, ran off towards an elementary school and was later apprehended.

Shortly before 1 p.m., Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officers were conducting a traffic stop on Albemarle Road when a passenger in the car fled on foot, according to CMPD.

The suspect ran towards an apartment complex on Farm Pond Lane where he carjacked a woman at gunpoint, police said. The woman's child was strapped into a car seat in the back seat.

The suspect drove the car west and onto Eastway Drive, where he overturned the car near Merry Oaks International Academy.

Bystanders who saw the crash went running over. They rescued the child, who was still strapped into the car seat, as the suspect ran away.

"Very fortunate that we had a responsible mom that had the baby strapped in properly," a CMPD spokesperson said that the scene.

As he ran, the suspect unsuccessfully tried to carjack another car, police said. That driver called 911 moments later.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department helicopter located the suspect, who was running near the school.

Officers on the ground yelled for students playing outside the school to go inside.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools confirmed the school was placed on lockdown for 15 minutes until officers successfully took the suspect into custody.

"I pray that baby is alright," Derisa Bradley told WCNC NBC Charlotte after witnessing the child being rescued from the car.

Medic said one person was transported from the scene with potentially life threatening injuries. They were taken to Novant hospital.

The child is described as being approximately a year and a half old.

Investigators recovered a gun near the scene.

Credit: Mecklenburg County Jail
Maurice Rakestraw

Rakestraw was charged with 1st-degree kidnapping, armed robbery, felony hit-and-run, misdemeanor hit-and-run, felony flee to elude, larceny of motor vehicle, firearm by felon, possession of a stolen firearm, possession of a firearm on educational property, and resist/obstruct/delay.  

He also had multiple outstanding warrants.

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