La Mesa teen describes fighting off carjacker

Posted at 11:33 PM, Mar 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-30 02:33:15-04

A La Mesa teen leaving a taco shop says a man threatened to stab him with syringes and give him HIV if he didn't drive him to a Walmart.

RELATED | Teen risks life to escape dangerous carjacker

"I stayed as calm as I could but inside I was freaking out," said Branik Brown.

The 17-year-old Grossmont High Junior is still shaken up after a man with several syringes threatened him Monday at Azteca Taco Shop in La Mesa and demanded a ride.

Brown said, "He said, 'Hey can you do me a favor?' I kept kind of walking. He's like, 'no you're going to do me a favor or I'll stab you with AIDS.'"

The man who police say is Thomas Johnson hopped in the truck. At first, he wanted to go to Walmart, but changed his mind.

Branik drove him around for more than 30 minutes while he had syringes just inches from his neck.

"I was just like, 'Yo you need to chill. I'll take you wherever you want as long as you don't hurt me,'" Brown said.

"He started snorting some cocaine," said Brown. "I thought he's going to start going crazy now so I knew I had to make a move. I punched him right in the jaw."

Brown ran to a 7-Eleven in Allied Gardens and called for help. Johnson then stole his truck.

A short time later, he led officers on a chase down the 15 Freeway, before crashing near University Avenue.

A police dog bit Johnson and officers cuffed him. Johnson was seen with blood on his face.

Brown knows the outcome could've been a lot worse. He says officers told him Tuesday, Johnson is HIV positive.

"I made the right decision at the right time," he said.

Johnson is in the hospital. Once he's released, he could face charges of carjacking, stealing a vehicle and evading police.

Brown says this incident now has him thinking about becoming a police officer when he's older.