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This article was published 26/11/2009 (3613 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
She was heading home after a busy night leading Girl Guides through a badge ceremony.
Little did the 39-year-old woman know she would need to confront a shotgun-wielding carjacker who would point his weapon at her as she stepped out of her car.
But the self-described "mother bear" didn't scare easily, especially with her seven- and 12-year-old daughters still in the vehicle.
When the would-be carjacker told her to hand over her keys, she did. She calmly asked him if he could drive a standard vehicle.
Then the unexpected happened. The man, whose driving abilities were apparently restricted to automatic transmissions, tossed the keys back, apologized and ran down a back lane.
"It wasn't spunk. It wasn't bravado," said Dawn, less than 24 hours after the attempted carjacking.
Dawn, who works as a special education teacher in the city, requested the Free Press not publish her last name.
She said she harbours no anger against the prospective carjacker, but she meant business when it came to protecting her kids.
The attack was random, she believes.
"He said, 'I'm sorry for doing this to you,' and he told me not to call the police," she said.
She later said: "I was giving him whatever he wanted. My priority was... my children."
She parked near her St. John's Avenue home at about 9 p.m. with her two daughters.
The three were returning from a Girl Guides meeting. Dawn opened her door and was getting ready to climb out of the car when she saw the man walking up with a gun pointed at her chest. Another man stood behind him in the shadow of some elms. Immediately, Dawn's thoughts jumped to her daughters.
Next to her, one sat in the front passenger seat. Her other daughter sat in the back. She ordered them out.
"My concern was that he was going to get in the car and drive away," she said.
"I wanted to make sure they were clear of the vehicle at that point."
Her daughters immediately climbed out and stood on a nearby sidewalk, she said.
"The two understood the intensity of the situation," she said.
And they watched as their mother passed over her keys, only to have them thrown back.
The three waited until after the two men were gone before running into a house and calling police.
Dawn said she is not angry with the carjacking suspects because she doesn't know their backgrounds.
"There's that level of empathy that I have... it wasn't personal," she said.
"At the same time, safety is important, too."
She and her husband, plus their three daughters, have lived on St. John's since 2001 while they build another property. She said she asked the man if he drove a standard because she was afraid he might grow angry if he realized he couldn't drive the car.
"My concern was he would get in the car, realize that he couldn't drive it and then there might be some ramification to that," she said. "(I was concerned) he would be angry and want to take it out on somebody."
About 20 minutes later, police said, a 42-year-old man and 38-year-old woman were near their vehicle on the 300 block of Burrows Avenue when two men came up to the woman and threatened her with a shotgun as the man came out of their house. The suspects then took off again.
One suspect is described as an aboriginal man, 16 to 18 years old, about 5-foot-8.
Police said he has short black hair and wore dark jeans and a red lumberjack jacket.
The second suspect is described as an aboriginal man, 25 to 27 years old.
Police said he had long, ponytailed black hair and wore a dark nylon jacket.