Mother says teen daughter traumatized by carjacking at Lithonia High

A 19-year-old woman was carjacked Jan. 14 while she waited for her brother in the parking lot of Lithonia High School. (John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)

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A 19-year-old woman was carjacked Jan. 14 while she waited for her brother in the parking lot of Lithonia High School. (John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)

NaKisha Simpson’s 19-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son have been sleeping in her bed for the past week. When she leaves for work in the morning, the teenagers keep a chair underneath the door handle to their DeKalb County apartment.

They have been unable to step foot outside their apartment after the 19-year-old was carjacked while waiting for her younger brother to be dismissed from Lithonia High School last Friday.

Ever since they moved from Savannah a little more than a year ago, it has been routine for the Georgia State University student to sit in her mother’s silver Nissan Altima alone, listening to music, parked just a few feet away from a row of bright yellow school buses and wait for her brother to walk toward the car after school, Simpson told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

But on Jan. 14, the teen was startled by a sudden banging at her driver’s-side window around 2:40 p.m. When she looked up, a man was pointing a gun at her, Simpson said.

“He told her to leave everything. Leave her purse, leave the keys. Everything,” Simpson, who said she did not want her daughter’s name included because of safety concerns, remembered.

Simpson is still unsure of how the robbery played out exactly. She said her daughter has been unable to open up about it. What she does know is that her daughter got out of the car and the robber drove off, she said. The teen was eventually able to speak to a school resource officer about the incident and was united with her brother around 3:10 p.m. when school ended.

“When I initially tried to speak to ask her about it, she just broke down and she said, ‘Mommy, they took everything,’ and I just told her that none of those things were important,” Simpson recalled of their phone conversation while her daughter was still at the crime scene and she was at work.

ExploreWoman carjacked in Lithonia High School parking lot just before dismissal

Since the car had a kill switch, Simpson was able to get it disabled about an hour after the incident. Tuesday night, the Nissan was tracked to Pavilion Place Apartments along Cleveland Avenue and Atlanta police recovered it around 8 p.m., according to an incident report obtained by the AJC. It had damage to the front left fender, rear bumper and right side, the report states. The license plate had been removed.

The APD incident report does not state what was stolen or left inside the car, but Simpson said her daughter’s purse, ID, debit card, watch, phone and several other items were inside at the time.

A few days later, the DeKalb resource officer told Simpson that two men were actually involved in the incident, she said. The man who came knocking on her daughter’s window was dropped off by another man who drove off soon after the robbery, she was told.

Now a week after the encounter, Simpson said she has decided DeKalb County may not be the best home for her family.

“That’s why I just decided to just move because I just don’t want to trigger anything in her by trying to force her to go back to that school,” Simpson said.

The 15-year-old will be returning to school next week after taking some time to work on his mental health, his mother said. Simpson was especially upset that no one from Lithonia High School reached out to her after the incident. It was not until Thursday that one of her son’s teachers called to ask why he had not been in class all week, Simpson said. When she told the teacher what had happened, she said the teacher immediately apologized and said he should take his time in returning to campus.

Simpson is hoping someone witnessed the carjacking and can help identify a suspect. She said the family has been provided very few details in the case by DeKalb County Schools police, which has left her children paranoid of even leaving home.

“I’ve got nothing. That’s my frustration. No one is telling me anything, so I feel like we’re being victimized over and over again,” she said.

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