Delaware Teen Charged in Gunpoint Carjacking of Congresswoman
PHILADELPHIA — A 19-year-old Wilmington, Delaware, man has been charged in connection with the armed carjacking of Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon last week.
Josiah Brown was one of five individuals who were apprehended in Scanlon’s 2017 Acura MDX hours after the carjacking, which took place in Franklin D. Roosevelt Park in South Philadelphia on Dec. 22.
Brown has been charged with carjacking and using a firearm during a crime of violence, U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams said.
Scanlon was not harmed during the incident, but later spoke of how scary it had been.
“The past 24 hours have been a whirlwind, but I am extremely grateful no one was hurt — including any members of my team or the families who were out enjoying the park on a beautiful winter afternoon,” she said in a written statement.
“What happened yesterday was traumatic, but I refuse to let it dampen my love for the city of Philadelphia or the gem that is FDR Park,” Scanlon continued. “I care deeply for the communities in my district, and I want Philadelphia residents to know that this won’t stop me from showing up for them. I look forward to spending more time in South Philly with my constituents in 2022 and beyond.”
“The fact is, this type of crime can happen anywhere and to anyone — yesterday it happened to me. Sadly, we know that over the course of the last year or two, since the onset of the pandemic, we have seen a spike in certain crimes across the country, including gun violence and carjacking. No one should have to experience this kind of lawlessness, and I will continue to push for resources and policies that help to reduce violence in our communities,” the congresswoman said.
According to the criminal complaint filed against Brown, Scanlon and an associate were speaking near her parked car, when an SUV pulled up alongside them and blocked them in.
It was then that one suspect got out of the SUV, pointed a gun at Scanlon and demanded the keys to her vehicle. As he did so, a second suspect also got out of the SUV. Scanlon complied with the armed suspect’s demands, and then both suspects got into her car and drove away. A third suspect driving the SUV then fled following Scanlon’s car.
Investigators determined the congresswoman’s car contained equipment to track and locate it, which they did later that day in Wilmington, and then in New Castle, Delaware.
The Delaware State Police and the FBI then traced the car to a parking lot of the Christiana Fashion Center in New Castle where they detained five people, including Brown, who had Scanlon’s car keys.
“The investigation into this incident is in its very initial stages, and we are continuing to investigate and evaluate charging decisions,” Williams said. “Armed carjacking is a serious federal crime. There have been a rash of violent crimes like this recently, and while there were national security implications to this particular incident, we are always working collaboratively with our local partners to evaluate if cases should be taken federally.
“Working together means more resources, more tools, more intelligence. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If you pick up a gun and use it to commit a crime, together, we will come after you. And we are very good at what we do,” she said.
Special Agent Jacqueline Maguire, of the FBI’s Philadelphia field office, said, “anyone willing to victimize a total stranger at gunpoint at any time, much less in broad daylight, in the middle of the day, is a clear threat to our community.”
“No one who lives, works, or visits here should have to fear violent criminals targeting them for their vehicle or any other possessions,” Maguire said. “The FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force will continue to work in lockstep with the Philadelphia Police Department and all of our partners to get guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them and dangerous individuals off the street. We will never cede this city to criminals who have total disregard for the lives and safety of others.”
If convicted, Brown faces a maximum possible sentence of lifetime imprisonment.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Philadelphia Police Department, with assistance from the Delaware State Police, Wilmington Police Department and the New Castle County Police Department and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin Oshana.
In her statement last week, Scanlon expressed her appreciation for “the swift, professional response from all of the law enforcement partners who have been involved in this matter.”
“I cannot thank them enough for all they’ve done,” she said.
“From common sense gun safety measures and additional resources for community policing and mental health services to measures that reduce poverty and enhance job training and employment opportunities, I remain committed to delivering much-need anti-violence resources for my district,” she continued, adding, “to everyone who has reached out to extend their thoughts and well wishes, I want to say thank you. Your kindness means so much to me, my family, and my entire team.”
Dan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue.