Teens accused of carjacking elderly vet on Detroit's east side

Teens accused of carjacking elderly vet on Detroit's east side

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Jesse Rutledge  (Credit: Fox 2 News) Jesse Rutledge (Credit: Fox 2 News)
DETROIT (WJBK) -

Four teens are accused of carjacking a man that fought for his country as a Tuskegee Airman.  The suspects range in age from 13 to 16.

"They [came] right up behind me, stuck me with the gun and said, 'Look, [expletive], give me your car,'" Jesse Rutledge explained.  "I didn't want to believe it.  I thought it was a prank or something."

Saturday afternoon, the 88-year-old left his barbershop near Harper and Van Dyke.  He said that is when four kids in hoodies ran out of an abandoned building across the street.  He hardly noticed them because they were so small.

"'[I've] got a gun.  I'll kill you.  I'll kill you,'" Rutledge said he was told.  "He racked it back."

How close was the gun?  "Right up to my head," he said.  "They took my keys and got in that car and drove off like they'd been driving it all the time.  The little one did it."

The suspected ringleader is just 13 years old.

Sources in the Commercial Auto Theft Squad confirmed they found Rutledge's stolen SUV less than 30 minutes later.  Police tailed it to a skating rink on the city's east side.  Four teens were arrested, and police said they confessed.

The Wayne County prosecutor's office said the 13- to 16-year-olds were in court Monday and ordered held on bond pending March 20 pretrial hearings before a juvenile court referee.

The Tuskegee Airmen were a group of black combat pilots who trained in Alabama during World War II. They helped pave the way for desegregation in the U.S. military.  Rutledge said he was a gunner on B-25 bomber.

-- The Associated Press contributed to this report

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