KGUN 9News


Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild says carjacking was surreal

Posted at 2:14 PM, Feb 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-21 00:00:43-05

An unknown man carjacked Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild this morning at his home in the area of Tucson Boulevard and 5th Street, according to Sgt. Pete Dugan, a spokesman for the Tucson Police Department. 

Just before 11 a.m. Rothschild was walking to his car and was approached by a suspect described as an African-American man. 

At 1:30 Saturday afternoon detectives found Rothschild's city-owned Toyota Prius in the area of East 36th Street and South Forgeus Ave. Police have not found the suspect. 

Dugan said the suspect had a gun in hand a pointed it at Rothschild and demanded his car keys. He reportedly tried to get into another car before its owners walked out and told him they were calling 911. The suspect then ran down the street, and into Rothschild's driveway.  

The mayor was not harmed during the incident. 

Dugan said the suspect was believed to be involved in incidents earlier this morning leading up to the carjacking. 

The suspect also pointed an object at a mail carrier as he left the area, police say. 

Dugan said it doesn't appear to be that he was targeting Rothschild based off of these prior incidents. 

On Monday KGUN9 spoke to Rothschild about the incident at the grand opening for the Allegro School of Music on the east side.

The mayor says Saturday morning a man approached him, pointed a gun at him and said, "where's your car?" Rothschild said he was standing right next to his city-owned Toyota Prius, and the man demanded his keys.
"It kicked in what I've learned and been taught, which is when somebody is pointing a gun at you you don't argue, and so I handed him my keys," Rothschild said.
"When it happened what I said when I was asked is that it was more surreal then scary, and that's really true. Last night when I woke up, I wake up sometimes in the middle of the night anyway, I really did start to think about how lucky I was and how it cold have been worse," Rothschild said. 
Rothschild said he still thinks Tucson is a safe city, but the carjacking showed that things can happen at any time which is why we need to support our public safety. 
"Tucson is a wonderful city but all cities, and remember we're a valley of one million people this is not a small town, and in those kind of big cities things will happen from time to time," Rothschild said. "What's most important is that we're in a position to both catch people when they do things that are not right, and also have programs available so people don't do things bad in the first place."
Rothschild was driving his city-owned 2012 Prius because he was going to tour of the St. Francis Men's Shelter, and had another engagement later in the day. Rothschild says he wouldn't recommend it for a getaway car, but it is a vehicle that's been provided for city-use.
The outpouring of support has been heart-warming for Rothschild, but he says you have to go on. 
"I have a job to do," Rothschild said. "I'm very focused on the job that I have to do and I'm going to continue to do it."
Rothschild says he has as many as 50 appointments and appearances a week. A lot of it is people coming into his offices to discuss various issues.