Armed robber flees home when women chant ‘Jesus’

An armed robber broke into a Lake City home hosting a jewelry party Friday night, but fled the scene when the women attending chanted “Jesus” at him.

Derick Jeremy Lee, 24, was arrested Friday for home invasion robbery. Lee, of Lake City, is the suspect in two armed robberies. He is booked at the Columbia County Detention Center on a $200,000 bond.

At about 7:45 p.m. Friday, a home on the 200 block of SW Lakeview Avenue hosted a Premier Jewelry home party, according to a police department press release.

A white male entered the residence with a handgun. The man pointed the gun at the women in the home. He told them to give him their money and phones.

The 15 women at the party were playing a game involving purses. Because of the timing of his entry, one woman thought it was a practical joke intended as part of the game.

According to the press release, she pushed the man’s hand away, laughed and said, “It’s only a water pistol.”

The man said it was not a joke and pulled back the gun fly to reveal bullets.

The owner of the house then stood up and shouted, “get out of my house in the name of Jesus!”

The other women started shouting “Jesus” at him, and the man fled.

“He stood there for a couple of seconds looking around the room, kind of dumbfounded and shocked, and then took off running out of the residence,” said Officer Craig Strickland, the assistant spokesman for the Lake City Police Department.

He did not harm anybody or take anything from the home.

During the confrontation, the bandana covering the man’s face flipped off, revealing his features to the women.

The women were presented with six photos of possible suspects who lived in the neighborhood. Strickland said four of the 15 immediately identified the photo of Lee as the man who entered the house.

While the Lake City Police Department was conducting an investigation of the home robbery, the department received a call reporting another attempted robbery at a Bank of America. The bank, located at 355 SW Bentley place, is about two miles away from the first robbery.

The victim told police a white male had pointed a handgun at her and yelled for her to give him her money. She said she yelled at the man, and he ran away from the scene, according to a press release.

The bank’s surveillance cameras showed the man was dressed in dark clothing with a dark bandana covering his face, a description that matched the jewelry party robbery.

Lee was found in his residence, 846 NW Thetis Place, at 11:17 p.m. on the same day. His charges are currently in revision to include the bank robbery, Strickland said.

Lee is under supervised probation, according to a copy of a court document from the Columbia County Clerk of Courts. The document, signed on Sept. 4, placed him on probation for six months.

Strickland had no information on the probation. Blair Payne, Lee’s elected public defender, refused to comment.

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