KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — One woman is glad to be alive after Knoxville Police say a man attempted to rob her at gunpoint.
KPD identified the suspect as 43-year-old Mario Vasquez. The incident happened in the Sun Tan City parking lot off Clinton Highway Tuesday evening.
“I was leaving Sun Tan City, walking out to my car and I saw this man that was standing really close to my car,” Jen, who choose not to share her last name, explained. “I hurried up, got inside my car, and locked my doors.”
She was looking down at her phone and forgot that her window was cracked when she says Vasquez came up to her car.
“I could see him approach because he had a bright yellow long sleeve t-shirt on. So, I could see him out of my peripheral, and I thought, oh he’s probably coming to ask me for money.”
However, it wasn’t money he was after.
“I look up and he had the gun pointed directly at me and he said, ‘give me your phone,” she said. “I was startled, and I looked away and looked back and said, ‘what do you want,’ and he said, ‘give me your phone,’ and as he was saying that I went to roll my window up and just laid on my horn.”
That alerted another woman in the parking lot, causing Vasquez to walk away.
“It was just about ten minutes after the incident, I called 911, they immediately came to the scene, and made sure I was safe, and then went to look for him and then within five or ten minutes they had him in custody,” Jen explained.
According to Jen, police brought him back to the scene where she and the other witness identified him. She says she’s just glad the whole situation is over.
“It was very traumatizing. I’m still in a state of shock.”
She said her message to others is, “just be aware of your surroundings. If there’s anyone, a stranger, anyone near your car, just don’t go over there.”
The Knoxville Police Department said when they found Vasquez in a Walmart parking lot, he had a handgun in his waistband.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated.