A 35-year-old felon suspected of carjacking a family at gunpoint outside a Lakewood convenience store may face life in prison if convicted of the crime.
The robbery took place about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday on South Tacoma Way.
Witnesses said the suspect appeared to be waiting for the victim to walk out of the store holding a cup of coffee, then waited for him to get behind the wheel of a Honda.
He approached wearing a face mask, pointed a rifle at the victim and ordered him out of the car.
The victim “tried to tell the defendant about the children, but the defendant responded by hitting (the victim) in the face with the butt of the rifle,” according to court documents.
The victim’s wife and children, ages 3 and 13, were able to safely get out of the car while the victim was being assaulted.
The suspect allegedly ripped a gold necklace off the victim’s neck before driving away in the Honda.
Lakewood police put out an alert and by morning, Federal Way police had arrested the 35-year-old and recovered the stolen Honda.
The suspect declined to speak with officers.
On Thursday, Pierce County prosecutors charged the man with first-degree robbery and first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.
An arraignment date has not been set. He remains in custody in King County Jail.
Prosecutors said the defendant faces a third strike under the state’s “three strikes” law if convicted, which would mean life without parole.
He was convicted on three counts of first-degree robbery in 2010 and one count of second-degree robbery in 2010.