ELIZABETH - A woman out with her daughters for a day of shopping at Jersey Gardens Sunday ended up fending off a group of carjackers.

Just as the woman was pulling her BMW X5 into her parking space, police say suspect Terrell Melvin walked to the car, pulled on the locked handle and then banged on the widow.

The woman didn't get out of the car, but rather slammed the car in reverse and took off. The woman's daughters, ages 6 and 8, say they heard two gunshots, believed to be fired into the ground in their direction.

The mom escaped the parking lot and found a Port Authority officer. Once police obtained a description of a suspect, they sealed the area and were able to spot him in a car with two accomplices, Darrell Washington and April Sharpe. All three were arrested at around 4 p.m., a block from the mall.

Police recovered a loaded .22-caliber gun and discovered that Terrell Melvin was wearing an ankle monitor and had just been released on probation for another robbery.

Elizabeth's police director tells News 12 New Jersey that violent crime is extremely rare at Jersey Gardens and this was the first carjacking at the shopping center in three years.