Flight paid for Morehouse student to attend relative’s funeral after carjacking

Shortly after reading a story about a Morehouse College student who was carjacked as he prepared to go home for a relative’s funeral, a suburban Detroit doctor tweeted The Atlanta Journal-Constitution early Thursday morning. 

“Did they find his car?” Dr. Victoria Dooley asked. “If not, I’d like to get this man a plane ticket home!”

 

Dooley did just that, and victim Justin Clark is headed to his native New Orleans.

 

Dooley told The AJC she did it because her father is a Morehouse College alumnus who frequently talks about the good memories he had of the school.

“My father is actually now a minister, and I thought that if he was there, he would offer to drive him there himself, since that's the type of person he is,” Dooley said. “So I couldn't do that myself, but I thought I might be able to get him a plane ticket.”

In a brief interview with The AJC, Clark said he was thankful for Dooley’s generosity and other offers of support. In addition to Dooley, dozens of readers reached out to The AJC as well as Morehouse to see how they could help Clark.

“I'm thankful for her, and that she was willing to help me in a time of need,” said Clark, a 20-year-old political science major. “I just want to say thank you to everyone who reached out to show their support.”

According to police, Clark was carjacked outside his off-campus apartment in southwest Atlanta when he took a study break to get a late night snack.

He was studying for midterms through the night Wednesday at a campus library before he left for Cook Out on Northside Drive. He had just returned home to his apartment complex on Westview Drive about 4 a.m. when two men approached, Atlanta police Capt. Reginald Moorman said.

Both wore hooded sweatshirts, and Moorman said at least one of the men was armed with a handgun.

“They demanded his keys, his car, his cellphone and his wallet,” he said. “Upon being robbed, he then walked over to the Morehouse security booth, spoke with Morehouse security and called 911.”

The apartment complex, on the corner of Westview Drive and Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard, is within a mile of the school and houses multiple college students. 

A Morehouse College student ran to a security booth at the corner of campus after he was carjacked Thursday when he returned from a late night fast food run. (Credit: Channel 2 Action News)

“We feel bad that anyone is victim of a crime, but this one kind of hits home because he told me he had just lost a relative and he was preparing to get back home,” Moorman said. “That was his method of transportation to get back to New Orleans. Our heart goes out to him and his family.”

Police are now looking for the victim’s vehicle, a 2007 Chevy Uplander van with Louisiana tag 867ACQ.

They are hoping nearby security cameras captured something and are on the lookout for the men responsible. Clark told police they were driving an older model, black Toyota sedan. There were two other people inside the Toyota when the student was ambushed, he said.

“Fortunately, he was not injured,” Moorman said. “He handed over everything.”

Atlanta police officers C.S. Thonton (left) and D. Terrell work on a report after a Morehouse College student was carjacked early Thursday. Police called the case "pretty heartbreaking," as the student was robbed of his transportation to a relative's funeral back home in Louisiana. JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM

The carjacking occurred two days after a Clark Atlanta University student was shot while driving near campus. Morehouse and Clark Atlanta are part of the Atlanta University Center consortium.

RELATED: Shooting of Clark Atlanta University student was not random, police say

Daeja Craddick, 19, is recovering after being shot in the back and crashing her car near the intersection of Lawton Street and Lucile Avenue. According to police, the shooting was not random. Investigators have not yet identified a shooter in that case.

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