MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A teenager was held at gunpoint, and his car was stolen the day before his high school graduation.
That’s the reality for one Collierville High School student as he gets ready to walk across the stage Thursday night.
Joshua Park, 18, has a bright future.
“I’m going to Embry-Riddle in Daytona Beach,” Park said. “I’m going to be studying unmanned aerial science systems.”
Park hopes to one day fly drones in the military.
The Collierville student, graduating with honors, is set to leave in a week. He’s excited for his new adventure but anxious after being held up with his sister at their southeast Shelby County apartment complex, The Park at Forest Hill, Wednesday night.
“I’m nervous, I’m shocked a little bit,” Park said. “She thought I was going to die right before my graduation.”
Returning from the gym, the pair parked in front of their building, Park said he noticed seven young men around his age.
“Two of them approach me, and they asked me if they can borrow my cell phone,” he said. “So I was holding it in my hand, put it on speaker and I was dialing whatever number they were giving me.”
When they realized Park knew something was off, another teen came from around the corner.
“Puts a gun right up to my face and says, ‘Give me everything, or I’ll shoot you.’ I gave them my car key and my phone,” he said.
Several people took off in his car. He thinks the rest left in a waiting getaway vehicle.
According to a report about 10 minutes before that carjacking and about a mile down the road at the Waterford Place Apartments, there was a report of another attempted carjacking.
Park acknowledges getting to college won’t be easy without a car.
“My dad’s a minister, a Korean minister, and he doesn’t make a lot of money, so financially it’s a struggle, and yeah, it’s going to be tough.”
It will be tough, but he says he is lucky.
“I’m really, really thankful that I’m alive, and I’m just grateful that I can actually just walk across the graduation instead of my parents having to deal with that,” Park said.
Park said he is also a band drum major and founded an Asian culture club.
His car is a 2004 dark green Toyota Camry with a dent in the front passenger-side bumper and a cracked front windshield. There is also a Shelby County Sheriff’s decal in the rear window. The license plate is 4F57V3.
If you think you know anything about this crime, contact Crime Stoppers at 901-528-CASH.
If you would like to help Park you can click here https://www.gofundme.com/joshuas-stolen-vehicle
In 24 hours the Gofundme has raised $2,200. Park says the money will go toward helping his family find a new place to stay. He will also use the funds to ship his belongings to Daytona Beach, where he is attending college. He is also planning to buy a one-way plane ticket.
Park said he is grateful to the Collierville community for helping him.
UPDATE: The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office said Friday evening that Park’s car had been located.