Inside the gas station, the 20-year-old man told the clerk to call police and that a potential gunman was threatening their lives if he did not take them to California as he wanted.
A few hours earlier, the man and his 17-year-old girlfriend from Woodbridge were forced into the car at the threat of gunpoint and was told to drive the gunman where he wanted as they were leaving an Alexandria restaurant around 9:15 p.m. Thursday.
The three drove in the 20-year-old’s 2002 Chevrolet Tracker to Breezewood, Pa., roughly 130 miles northwest of Alexandria, when the gunman sent the girl’s boyfriend in to a Sheetz convenience store to get money for the Pennsylvania turnpike as well as food.
The attacker saw the boyfriend talking to the clerk and became angry. He took the 17-year-old in the store with him, but the 20-year-old attacked the gunman and the two got in a fistfight in the store, Pennsylvania state police said.
The two fought inside the store, knocking over food as well as other things inside until the Pennsylvania State Police arrived a few minutes later and arrested Eric Alvarez Ramos, 23, a Venezuelan national with no permanent address or employment in the United States, state police said.
“The [male victim] seized an opportunity to do something,” said Capt. John Crawford of the Alexandria
police department. “On his mind he was thinking ‘Oh my god, are we going to go farther? Is he going to hurt my girlfriend? What’s he going to do to me?’ He saw an opportunity and took it. I commend him for it.”
State police charged Ramos with unlawful restraint, simple assault, and disorderly conduct and criminal mischief.
The two victims drove back to Alexandria on Friday night and reported the incident to Alexandria police, who are investigating the case.
Crawford said Alexandria police detectives are working with detectives in Breezewood and may file charges in this case as well.
Breezewood is at the intersection of U.S. 70 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike, which connects Philadelphia and Pittsburgh and continues into Ohio.
Family members of the 17-year-old, reached at the family’s home Monday afternoon, declined to comment for this story.
Staff writer David Stegon can be reached at (703) 878-8065.