Suspect caught after cemetery carjacking

Bloomfield police booking photo of Frederick Sowell.

BLOOMFIELD, Conn. (WTNH) — An 18-year-old Hartford man is behind bars on carjacking charges after stealing a car in a cemetery and hitting a child in an attempt to get away, police said. He was caught by other people at the cemetery.

Annemarie Rabett was visiting her parents grave and left her elderly friend to wait in her car. That’s when an 18-year-old suspect ran up to her car, got right in and took off. Police say he hit a 10-year-old girl before bystanders were able to stop him.

There is already a lot of shock and sadness in losing a loved one but then to be carjacked at the cemetery while paying respects, adds insult to injury. It happened to Rabett just after 2 on Sunday. She was going to visit her father and mother at their grave site with her 88-year-old friend when it happened.

“I happened to see the guy when we came in. He had taken his shirt off and was in the middle of the road and I went around him. And the next minute I knew he was getting in the car,” said Rabett.

Annemarie says she had just gotten out of her car and gone over to the water spigot to get some water for the flowers she was leaving graveside for her father, when Frederick Sowell tried to get into her car. She went after him and was thrown out of the way, the passenger jumped out of the car as he took off through the cemetery.

“I ran over there and grabbed him by the shirt and he pushed and pushed and he jumped in and put his foot right on the accelerator and started flying,” said Rabett.

She says her friend was able to jump out of the car uninjured but what happened next stunned her. She says the man drove at high speed at a large crowd of mourners gathered around a grave. Everyone was able to get out of the way except for a 10-year-old girl.

“I was just a nervous wreck, and I didn’t sleep all night because I was thinking about the little girl,” said Rabett.

She went to the hospital and was okay, mourners were able to chase the guy down and hold him until police got there. Monday morning Sowell was arraigned in court where he faced a wide range of charges including carjacking and reckless endangerment.

“They could have been here burying another loved one, thank goodness that didn’t happen. They say everybody has a guardian angel and there were a lot of angels that day watching over that little girl,” said Trisha Russo, Bloomfield.

Sowell faces charges including carjacking, robbery, larceny, and reckless endangerment. He’s being held on a $250,000 bond.

Windsor police are also investigating, since some of what happened occurred in their town, and additional charged could be filed.

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