Ex-serviceman takes car from Ga. dealer at gunpoint, drives off, kills self

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A man who took a Mustang from a south Georgia dealership showroom at gunpoint is believed to have fatally shot himself after the car ran out of gas in Folkston, authorities said.

Ryan Allen Blankenship, 21, of Blackshear, entered the showroom at Robbie Roberson Ford in Waycross about 4:40 p.m. Monday where he stood near the front of a car, Ware County Sheriff Randy Royal said.

A salesman who responded to what he believed was a customer’s request for help instead saw that the man was holding a semi-automatic pistol at waist level, Royal said.

After the salesman followed Blankenship’s orders to open the showroom’s double doors and to not say anything, Blankenship got inside a 2012 Mustang Boss 302 and drove it quickly through the doors.

“There were several people in the showroom including children,” Royal said.

Blankenship made it outside hitting only a chair and a table in the showroom and sped away.

The car headed north on U.S. 1, which runs in front of the dealership, and officers from the Sheriff’s Office, Georgia State Patrol and Waycross Police Department set up strategically to intercept the vehicle.

Ten minutes later, however, a Georgia Forestry Service arson investigator called to report the car, which was red with a white top, had sped past him southbound on U.S. 1 south of Waycross at an estimated 100 mph, Royal said.

“He had doubled back,” Royal said.

Alerted that the car was coming toward Folkston at a high rate of speed, Charlton County deputies tried to deploy stop sticks but couldn’t because of heavy traffic.

Using detection devices, the deputies said the car was going 130 mph at some point.

As the driver crossed a railroad overpass in Folkston, the car ran out of gas about 5:40 p.m., and the driver pulled the car over and ran, Royal said.

He fled across railroad tracks and jumped into a ditch on the west side where Cpl. Michael Ray of the Ware County Sheriff’s Office and Trooper Ray Strickland, who pursued him, saw Blankenship raise his head a couple of times, Royal said.

Officers heard a shot and made their way forward to find Blankenship dead, Royal said.

“All indications are it was self-inflicted,” said Mike McDaniel, special agent in charge of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Kingsland office, and the body was sent to a GBI crime lab for an autopsy.

Blankenship, who had been in the Navy, was recognized as having been in the dealership a couple of weeks earlier and had spoken to a salesman other than the one robbed, Royal said.

The motorcycle Blankenship rode to the dealership has been returned to his family, he said.

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Riverman1
82450
Points
Riverman1 03/14/12 - 07:03 am
4
0
When we go to war, the entire

When we go to war, the entire nation goes to war with consequences that touch everyone.

southiegal
26
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southiegal 03/14/12 - 08:07 am
4
0
Our Service People are not

Our Service People are not getting the help they need.

stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 03/14/12 - 08:27 am
2
0
Honestly a lot of them don't

Honestly a lot of them don't ask for help due to fear of not getting promotions or losing security clearances. There is actually a lot of help out there but as with anyone from any walk of life, you have to reach out for help. It is also important for friends, family and co-workers to watch for signs that something may be wrong. I pray for this young man and his family, it is sad when anyone feels their life is hopeless.

proudgunowner
148
Points
proudgunowner 03/14/12 - 08:44 am
0
0
All the article says is that
Unpublished

All the article says is that he had been in the Navy. There is nothing saying he served in any combat zone or in any capacity that could have caused PTSD. How about some prayers for the car salesman who was robbed at gunpoint? That can be traumatizing for people as well....

allhans
23546
Points
allhans 03/14/12 - 09:08 am
4
1
At 21 he could not have

At 21 he could not have served long? This might have had nothing to do with his one time service in the military. We are making assumptions.

142
Points
Dan White 03/14/12 - 09:21 am
3
0
Agreed gal. The soldier who

Agreed gal. The soldier who killed the Afghanistan civilians doesn't need a military trial, he needs a psychiatrist and probably meds to help him with whatever he is dealing with. Three deployments. A head injury in Iraq, and it seems according to what I've read, he may have an alcohol problem which is self-medicating his emotional pain and trauma from war. Personally, I vote we get out of Afghanistan and wish we had never put boots on the ground to begin with. Let the drones do the work of war.

stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 03/14/12 - 09:30 am
2
0
Dan, I agree with you but the

Dan, I agree with you but the sad thing is that the soldier who killed the Afghan civilians will probably get sent to prison just for the US to save face with the Afghan leaders. It is sad what we are doing to our soldiers and I wish that more of them would reach out for the help they need.

twolane
191
Points
twolane 03/14/12 - 10:02 am
0
0
its a volunteer military
Unpublished

its a volunteer military

LLArms
470
Points
LLArms 03/14/12 - 10:04 am
0
0
War crimes against another

War crimes against another countries innocent should have the guilty judged and sentenced by the laws of that country. Yea, this is going to upset some people, but the truth hurts. Murder is murder.

142
Points
Dan White 03/14/12 - 10:09 am
0
0
Yea, Austin wanted to turn

Yea, Austin wanted to turn the UNITED STATES soldier over to the Afghan authorities if he was found guilty in a military tribunal.

Yes, he is now a political football. Maybe the liberal 9th Circuit Federal Court in San Fran could try him. Obama wants the Gitmo prisoners tried in civilian courts, so why not this soldier!

In the Vietnam War My Lai Massacre, after a four-month-long trial, despite claims that Calley was following orders from his commanding officer, Captain Medina, Calley was convicted on March 29, 1971, of premeditated murder for ordering the shootings. He was initially sentenced to life in prison at hard labor. Two days later, however, President Richard Nixon made the controversial decision to have Calley released, pending appeal of his sentence. Calley's sentence was later adjusted, so that he would eventually serve three and one-half years under house arrest at Fort Benning.

Our government didn't turn Calley over to a foreign government for trial and neither should this US soldier be turned over to the Afghan government - ever!

142
Points
Dan White 03/14/12 - 10:29 am
1
0
What the soldier did was

What the soldier did was horrible. I am not trying in any way to justify what he did. But here is a question I have to ask. The United States military has killed innocent civilians in Afghanistan through drone attacks, bombs, and other incidences. These were accidental. The soldier's acts were intentional. Just because the US military killed civilians unintentionally, should those soldiers too be turned over to the Afghan government? Does intent matter in a war zone? Should Lincoln have been turned Sherman over to the Confederate government for intentionally ordering the murder of innocent civilians in Sandersville, Georgia? Should the soldier who fired the bullet and killed the civilians been turned over to the Confederate government? Sherman himself admitted after the war that he was taught at West Point that he could be hanged for the things he did. And, Sherman is the one who said, "War is h***."

allhans
23546
Points
allhans 03/14/12 - 10:28 am
0
0
The family of Blankenship

The family of Blankenship said he had been a corpsman with the US Navy and had recently returned home.
A stressful position?

The military might want to give mental tests to all before they are accepted.
The number of mental disability cases is horrendous.

KSL
126919
Points
KSL 03/14/12 - 10:31 am
0
0
Does it not bother obama

Does it not bother obama supporters that obama wants terrorists captured on battlefields in foreign countries read Miranda rights but holder is running around the country justifying taking out American citizens on American soil without due process just because the government CLAIMS they present an eminent threat?

142
Points
Dan White 03/14/12 - 10:35 am
1
0
The Chronicle article didn't

The Chronicle article didn't mention Blankenship was in a non-stressful position. Assumed he had been, and I'm certainly not making excuses. Only that the trauma from war and its adverse effects on many soldiers need to be addressed.

Riverman1
82450
Points
Riverman1 03/14/12 - 10:36 am
0
0
Allhans, I don't know the

Allhans, I don't know the circumstances, but Navy Corpsmen are assigned as medics with Marine units in combat.

bjphysics
36
Points
bjphysics 03/14/12 - 10:50 am
1
0
Actually KSL that’s not how

Actually KSL that’s not how it works; a Predator Drone drops a note on a parachute containing Miranda rights in multiple languages, when the note hits the ground a follow-up message is sent attached to the fin of a Hellfire missile.

allhans
23546
Points
allhans 03/14/12 - 11:45 am
0
0
RM Thank you.

RM Thank you.

dave5588
0
Points
dave5588 03/14/12 - 11:52 am
2
0
At 21 he could not have

At 21 he could not have served long? This might have had nothing to do with his one time service in the military. We are making assumptions.

At 21 he could have served 4 years.

Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 03/14/12 - 03:01 pm
0
0
RIP.

RIP.

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