A woman sitting in her SUV waiting for a traffic light to change was forced out of the vehicle at gunpoint Tuesday morning.
The man accosted the driver at East Drive and Telegraph Road in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County, sparking a search that delayed the start time of a nearby elementary school.
John Holomon Russell, 23, was arrested near Fairhaven Avenue and N. Kings Highway shortly after 8 a.m.
The incident began just after 6 a.m. when Russell approached a 36-year-old woman, pulled out a gun and told her to get out of her vehicle, police said.
The woman complied, and Russell took off in the car, police said.
Officers caught up with him and tried to pull him over a half-mile away. Police say Russell struck a tree and four cars as he sped away, but he eventually stopped at a dead end. He then got out of the SUV and ran.
Police, K-9 units and helicopter searched the area for Russell, prompting two schools to go on a secured building status. A third school opened late.
Two hours later, a suspect matching Russell's description was stopped while walking in the intersection of Fairhaven Avenue and North Kings Highway.
Russell was arrested and charged with carjacking, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, felony speed to elude, driving on a suspended license and four counts of misdemeanor hit-and-run, police said.
The victim did the right thing, Officer Reem Awad said.
"Your well-being and your safety is paramount. If they display a weapon and they're asking for property, turn over that property and just get to help as soon as you can," she said.
Stay alert in the car and keep your doors locked, Awad said.
Anyone who witnessed the initial carjacking or has information about the incident is asked to call police at 703-691-2131.