Jan 31, 2024

NC Poet Laureate, husband recall traumatic carjacking in Garner

Jaki Shelton Green travels North Carolina as the Poet Laureate, having been appointed by the governor.

She often shares inspiring words, and messages of hope.

Lately, she's shared her story as the victim of a violent crime. Green and her husband Abdul Lateef Fisher were victims of a carjacking at a Garner gas station on Memorial Day weekend.

It happened at the Speedway on Jones Sausage Road near Interstate 40.

The couple spoke with WRAL News about how their journey to healing can help others.

On their way to the beach, the couple stopped in Garner while traveling from their home in Mebane to Ocracoke.

As Green went inside, her husband got out of the car to look for something in the back seat.

Next thing he knew he was slammed to the ground amid all the comings and goings at the busy gas station off I-40. They believe they were targeted because of their age.

"I needed something from the rear seat," said Fisher. "So the key was still in the ignition. I opened the door, opened the back door, I leaned in and boom."

"Knocked me down, got in the front seat. I tried to grab him. he was too quick. he started the car and put it in drive, and he took off."

Fisher's face shows the reminders of the traumatic attack on May 28.

"My desire is that this young man be apprehended," Green said. "It was a pretty violent act."

Data from Garner Police shows that carjackings in the town are rare. This is only the second one this year. Motor vehicle thefts are much more common with 54 so far in 2023. That's more than double the number during the same time in 2022.

The couple has since gotten their SUV back, but not their peace of mind.

Green wants to share their story to shine a light on mental health and normalize seeking help. She and her husband both plan to start going to trauma therapy.

"I think our culture is a culture that does not always seek the resources available to us," said Green. "There is so much stigma attached to mental illness and coping skills."

Green said she was the first African American and only the third woman to be appointed State Poet Laureate.

For the perpetrator, her message is clear and straightforward.

"Think about the consequences," Green said. "Is it really worth risking your own life for something that's material, that devalues the minute you steal that car?"

It's not known if Garner police have identified a suspect.