DELTONA, Fla. (WFLA) — Three men apparently picked the wrong victims when they pointed a gun at a toddler while trying to rob two women in a Deltona grocery store parking lot.
Authorities said the robbery happened just before noon Friday in a Winn Dixie grocery store parking lot. The victims said the robber pointed a gun at them and a 2 year old during the incident, which led the child’s grandmother to arm wrestle the gunman before he fled in a vehicle.
Maggie Mejias, the toddler’s grandmother, pursued the robbers’ pickup truck and rammed into it on Howland Boulevard, a few hundred yards from the scene of the robbery. Deputies captured the three men at the crash scene.
“I flipped. I went crazy. Look what I did,” said Mejias. Mejias said all she wanted to do was to protect her 2-year-old granddaughter. Mejias and her friend, Lisa Perez, said they were in their sport utility vehicle in the grocery store parking lot just before noon Friday, when a man jumped in their vehicle.
“He caught the wrong girls on the wrong time,” said Perez.
“He pushed everything in, and he has a gun to my head, so he told me, ‘Give me your purse. Give me your purse.’ He started cursing, so I said, ‘No,’” Mejias said. The women said he pointed the gun at the 2-year-old.
“I grabbed the gun. He still had the gun, and I managed to turn it on him and put it straight on his forehead. I could see it, and I was pulling the trigger,” Mejias said.
“Both of us kind of elbowed and fought him,” Perez said. It was enough for the man to run out into a getaway vehicle. Two other men were waiting inside, but when the men fled, Mejias said she stepped on the gas and followed.
As Perez called police, Mejias eventually rammed the men’s vehicle. “He was coming, and he tried to get off, and I hit him,” Mejias said.
All three men were caught not far from the grocery store. One of them was taken out of the woods off Howland Boulevard. The crash didn’t cause any serious injuries, and the victims said the gun did not fire.
“I’m happy. Less trash in the street,” Mejias said.
The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said it never recommends doing what the women did. Instead, officials said people should comply with the assailants and then call 911, if possible.
The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office identified the suspects as Aaron Voss, 26, Christopher Watson, 38, and Andrew Mielniczek, 28. Officials said Voss is the suspected gunman and is charged with robbery with a firearm, child abuse and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. Watson and Mielniczek are charged with principal to robbery with a firearm. All three men were jailed. Voss’ bond was set at $80,000.
Jail records showed it was Voss’ sixth arrest since 2011 and his first violent felony. His previous bookings were for drug possession, battery and resisting arrest. Watson and Mielniczek’s bonds were set at $50,000.