When a violent crime explodes into your own little world, how would you react

CommentGET out of the car. Get out of the f–king car.The words cracking through the winter night failed toregister at first.

I found myself swivelling around to look at a black sports car idling only10 metres away and saw two men next to each other with the driver’s door wide open.

It has got me beat, but for some reasonmyinitial thought was that they were arguing about who should be driving.

Maybe I have been in too many of those conversations in the past.

But this was at the intersection of Bull and Union streets at Cooks Hill, a busy area of inner-city Newcastle, even if it was about 6.45pm on a Tuesday night.

What could they possibly be blueing about, I thought?

Then the older guy yelled: “I’ve been carjacked”.

And it hit me –just like it did to the woman attempting to open her unit door only metres away, so much so she dropped her water bottle and let out an audible gasp.

And just like it did to the fireman who open the front door to the adjacent Newcastle fire station to see what was happening.

Holy crap, this is fair dinkum.

By this stage, a bloke was behind the wheel as the older fellow walked behind the car in an apparent daze.

The seconds went slower and the apparent carjacker, armed with a knife which appeareda lot like what John Rambo used to use, started yelling profanities at himself: “what the f—k, what the f—k”.

The imbecile couldn’t re-start the car. The engine had stopped when he reefed the door open and the keys were useless to him –this was one of those fancy sports cars with button ignitions.

Realising he was going nowhere fast, and possibly sensing more and more eyes on him, the imbecile jumped back out of the car, blurted out one final profanity, and galloped from the scene wearing the street thug’s choice of disguise, a black hoodie, over his head and face.

It all happened in 10 seconds, no one was hurt, possibly except for the older guy who appeareda bit shaken.

Being an ex-Victorian copper would probably help him with the adrenaline rush – a rush so intense I have rarely felt before.

As a crime reporter for 20-oddyears, I have heard people speak of this rush, ofhow time slowed, and how instincts kicked in.

I know what they mean now.Although I was a bit upset withmy instincts.

I had always hoped –as have many I presume who have thought about it –that I would be thathero, the man full of bravado who could chase down the knife-wielding grub and crash-tackle him in an effort Trevor “The Axe” Gillmeister would be proud of.

But I hardly moved. I walked briskly towards the car when I realised he was attempting to get away, almost trying to get in front of it. But when he ran, I watched.

To be fair, I was never gifted with those fast-twitch fibres that those athletic commentators seem to talk about.

But maybe I could have tried.

We got onto thepolice were there in significant numbers within a minute.

And big kudos to them. Their calmness was impressive and almost contagious. And considering none of us had much for them to go on –a black hoodie and a bloody big knife –they hunted around for him.

They didn’t have much luck, but they are very hopeful about getting some evidence from the car andthe imbecile is behind bars shortly.

In the meantime, it’shard not to think that it could have so easily been so much worse.