When an alleged robber attempted to carjack a man Jan. 18 in Lee’s Summit, the intended victim – wisely or not is up to interpretation – fought back and foiled the effort.
Although situations are different and responses vary, police officials would normally advise a victim of a robbery to comply with the robber’s demands to avoid the situation turning deadly. For the man in the Jan. 18 incident compliance was not part of the deal as he thwarted the attempted carjacking by 19-year-old Robert Rule of Lee’s Summit after a struggle with Rule caused the perpetrator to flee the scene prematurely without the man’s vehicle.
“Under normal circumstances, we would advise people to keep themselves safe, create distance between themselves and the suspect and try to focus on being a good witness,” said Lee’s Summit Police Sgt. Chris Depue, a spokesman for the department. “Victims should concentrate on remembering details about the suspect and the incident, but never at a risk to their personal safety.”
Rule was charged later that day in connection with a robbery spree that reportedly began in Belton, made its way to Lee’s Summit, move toward Independence, ventured back to Lee’s Summit and ended in Cass County. The Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office charged Rule with a total of four felony counts – first degree robbery, a Class A felony and armed criminal action in a carjacking in Independence and attempted first degree robbery and armed criminal action in the Lee’s Summit incident.
Bond was set at $200,000.
Rule was taken into custody in Cass County shortly after an incident at a convenience store in Lee’s Summit. According to Depue, at 3:15 a.m. officers were called to the 7-Eleven convenience store located in the 900 block of S.W. Oldham Parkway in regards to an attempted carjacking. When officers arrived, they made contact with the victim who told them that he was parked at the gas pumps when he was approached by a suspect, later identified as Rule, who brandished a handgun and ordered him to give up his vehicle.
As Rule entered the driver’s side of the vehicle, the victim entered the passenger side of the vehicle and began struggling with Rule. As the struggle continued, Rule attempted to drive out of the parking lot, but lost control of the vehicle as it exited the parking lot and left the roadway just beyond the entrance to the parking lot. Rule then exited the victim’s vehicle and ran back to a vehicle that was waiting for him in the parking lot.
According to The Kansas City Star, court records indicate as the two struggled to control the car, Rule told the victim he was going to shoot him, and he pulled out a handgun. As the two men fought over the gun, one shot was fired into the floorboard. The victim managed to grab the weapon and strike Rule twice on the forehead.
Rule allegedly pleaded that he did not want to go to jail and that he had a child on the way, court records stated. He fled to a waiting vehicle.
Rule fled the area in a vehicle heading south on S.W. Ward Road. Lee’s Summit police officers who arrived on the scene attempted to catch up to the fleeing vehicle as it left, but were never able to close the distance and attempt to stop the car.
Officers followed the vehicle to the area of Ward Road and Missouri Highway 150 before disregarding their attempts to catch up with it.
The victim was not injured during the incident.
“The officers lost sight of the suspect in the area of S.W. 150 and Ward Road,” Depue said. “When officers first observed the suspect leaving the scene, he was already well ahead of them. The suspect was traveling at a high rate of speed and the officers were never able to close the distance.”
After fleeing from Lee’s Summit officers, Rule was eventually located by Cass County Sheriff’s deputies and Belton Police officers and taken into custody at a home in Cass County.
According to The Star, in an earlier incident, Rule allegedly had been driving around with others in Independence, stealing vehicles, including one that belonged to men they met earlier at a hospital. About 2:30 a.m., the men took Rule to a QuikTrip in the 4700 block of South Arrowhead Drive, where he stole the vehicle by telling them he had a gun, according to court records.
The Star also reported that court documents stated after his arrested in Belton – where the crime spree began with the theft of a car – Rule allegedly told authorities that he had ruined his life and the lives of his family and felt he had no other choice but to steal things.