PINE BLUFF, Ark. — Pine Bluff city councilwoman Joni Alexander is grateful to be alive after she had a scary encounter with three gunmen, where she was robbed outside of her home.
At about 5:00 a.m. Sunday, June 26, Alexander said her and her cousin were parked in her driveway having a casual conversation.
That conversation was cut short when Alexander turned around and saw three men coming towards her with three assault rifles in hand.
When surveillance video from her security cameras was reviewed, you could see that the armed robbers first approached Alexander's front porch.
"They started at my tree and then they started walking of on this line here," Alexander said.
After a short time, the three men made their way to the other side of the house where Alexander was talking to her cousin and pointed their weapons.
Alexander expressed, "He told me to shut up and I shut up. He approached me with a gun pointing at me and he took my purse. The second guy had the gun pointed at me."
According to a police report, the suspects took her purse, a pistol she had in her purse, two cell phones, and cash that totaled, all-in-all more than $4,000.
After they grabbed her purse, the robbers ran away and began to shoot into the air.
She was able to track her phone to nearby house on Chestnut Street.
"There's a young man, sitting on the porch with no shirt. One of the guys who robbed me did not have on a shirt. So, my husband looks at the young man, looks at his shoes and he calls the police over there," Alexander said.
Police then arrested 30-year-old Rodney Whitmore.
Witnesses reported to police that they had seen Whitmore with a black purse and a hand gun.
Those belongings were Alexander's, and when police recovered her purse and cards, they were all burned.
Investigators have still not been able locate her hand gun.
"They burned the cards, they burned everything in [the purse]. My cell phone was torn into two," Alexander said.
She said the area where Whitmore was found is an area often plagued with violence.
"A lot of young women are harboring fugitives, you know, so those are the houses that they guys are running to," Alexander said.
Alexander has still been trying to grasp what happened.
"They had the manpower to completely destroy my life," Alexander said.
Now, she has called on the community to hold criminals accountable.
"Quit giving these young boys who have already made up their minds that they are for the streets an excuse. All they are doing is victimizing the very people who are out here advocating for them," Alexander added.
Alexander also had a message to the three men responsible.
"Do understand that I do know that without your gun, you're not tough. That's all you have and you need to redirect whatever hurt happened to you in your childhood and stop projecting it on everyday, average citizen that's minding their own business."
Whitmore has been charged with Aggravated Robbery and Theft of Property and police continue to look for the other two gunmen.
According to a police report, Whitmore said that he did not know the names of the other men involved.