Memphis lawmaker robbed at gunpoint

Rep. Mike Kernell, Photo: State of Tennessee.
Rep. Mike Kernell, Photo: State of Tennessee.

(WMC-TV) – A Memphis lawmaker was the victim of a violent robbery, but now he's sharing his story about how technology helped track down his attackers.

Tennessee state Rep. Mike Kernell was reluctant to speak to the media about his misfortune.

He didn't want to show Memphis in a negative light, but he did want to equip citizens with the knowledge of how he was able to fight crime.

"This is Mike, my phone is missing," that's the message you'll hear if you call Kernell.

He was recently robbed at gunpoint by at least two people.

After a long day campaigning, Kernell was in his driveway when someone came at him from behind.

"So I drove out of my drive and turned the corner," Kernell said. "He had already opened the door and said, 'I have a gun.' At that point, you just give up."

The suspects grabbed the state representative and threw him out of his car.

"I could not believe that after I'd been thrown to the ground, they took off my pants," Kernell said.

The suspects took off down the street, but Kernell had his own weapon.

"With my new phone, I was able to track it with a GPS and actually find the phone and the person who had the phone," he said.

Kernell's campaign aide used his Sprint Family Finder to track the suspects' every move.

"And if they were driving down the street, passing addresses and pausing at red lights, you could tell," said Melissa Galloway-Pierce, of the Kernell Campaign.

For four days, investigators and the campaign office tracked the phone all over Memphis. Every time the crooks used the phone, it sent a ping into cyberspace.

Kernell did not say where the phone was eventually located because he didn't want to interfere with the investigation.

Meanwhile, people close to Kernell are glad he's here to serve another day.

"His whole life is about the community and working for the people," said Galloway-Pierce. "It's just sad. It breaks my heart."

Police are not releasing any details about the suspects at this point.

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