On a steamy Tuesday afternoon last week, police say Clarissa Haglid calmly walked into the Union Park Volvo showroom on Pennsylvania Avenue and asked to test drive a car.
Haglid presented valid identification and was soon on her way, heading north on Kennett Pike into the affluent community of Greenville.
What happened next, according to police, included armed robbery and an attempted home invasion tied to a bloody scuffle on the front steps of a Greenville home where Haglid was disarmed of a lethal firearm.
In an exclusive interview with Town Square Delaware, the homeowner recounted the entire terrifying episode. It began with Haglid apparently randomly targeting the home after a stickup of the Zyng Nails salon in the Powder Mill Square shopping center.
On July 21, State Troopers were first dispatched to the salon at 3828 Kennett Pike for a report of a robbery. Delaware State Police say Haglid pointed a gun at a store employee, demanded money, and fled the scene in a “white Volvo.”
Shortly thereafter, a Greenville homeowner was at home alone lying on his couch after sustaining a recent leg injury when he heard the doorbell ring at about 2:45 p.m. The man said he didn’t hesitate to open the door based on the appearance of the visitor.
“I thought it was someone else I knew. She was wearing a sundress and sunglasses, and I saw the white Volvo in the driveway, and I actually thought she might be a friend of ours.”
To protect his privacy, Town Square LIVE and New Castle County Police are not disclosing the man’s identity.
The scene quickly descended into a violent battle.
“When I opened the door, she had a pocketbook in her left hand, and her other hand was obviously behind her back. So, when I walked out the front door and said, ‘May I help you?’ she quickly pulled the gun from her right side. She pointed that maybe two feet from my chest, in my face, in that area,” said the man.
The homeowner says he has experience with guns and he identified the weapon as a loaded revolver. Sensing profound danger, he tried to reason with the woman.
“She said, ‘I want to come in your house, and I will not hurt you. But I need to get in your house.’
“And I said, ‘Well, that’s a problem. What are you doing? Why are you doing this? What’s going on with your life?’”
The man doesn’t recall what her response was, but he was aware that his logic was not having its desired outcome. All the while the woman waved her gun between the homeowner’s chest and face.
“That wasn’t going very well, and she kept getting the gun a little closer to me,” said the man. “And I saw that after maybe 30 seconds this wasn’t going anywhere.”
The homeowner decided he needed to grab the gun and wrestle it away.
He wrestled with the woman for what he said seemed like a full minute, all the while having no control over the gun and nervous that it might go off at any time.
As she waved the gun at me, I finally saw an opening of where I could take my right hand and push the gun out of my face. So, I pushed it, let’s say, to the left. And then I got both hands on the gun. She had both hands on the gun. And we literally wrestled for – honest to God it felt like more than a minute, to the point where I was actually getting tired.
Believe it or not, for at least 45 seconds, I have did not have control of the gun. And it was facing toward me the majority of time.
And I felt it could kind of go off at any time because it was right between our stomachs. And I finally got the barrel toward her chest, and I said, ‘I’m going to pull the trigger if you don’t release.’ And she would not let go. She was just crazy.
Then the next thing I thought of, because I truly was getting tired, was to raise our hands all up in the air, and I tried to smash her hand against the side of the wall the house. But in doing that I was smashing my hand at the same time because all four of our hands were together on the gun.
So, that didn’t work.
And then I realized if I took my right hand out really fast from the four hands [and the grip of the gun], and I had a position, looking down at her because she was about 5 feet, 4 inches. So I clobbered her really hard in the head, I mean really hard.
And she still didn’t release.
And then I hit her again. And then she lightened up the gun enough that I pulled it away from her.
And then she proceeded to run, and as this is all going on, she’s saying, ‘My boyfriend is right behind me. If you don’t let me in the house. He’s gonna kill you.’
And I’m like, ‘Well is he in the car, on the seat? Is he in another car behind her?’ And I thought, ‘I’ll do a lot better if I have the pistol than not if he’s coming after me.’ So those things are going through your mind through this whole process.
So, she ran to the car, and I didn’t want to take a chance of staying outside and looking for her. So, I went in the house and locked the door. And then I realized I have all glass doors at the back of our house. And I said, ‘This is stupid.’ I thought, ‘If he’s crazy like her, he’ll just shoot the door in and break the glass, and then I’m going have a gunfight in the house.
That I didn’t want.
So, I locked the door, and I got in the car, and I drove over to the Nickle Insurance Agency on Route 52.
Once inside the car, he called his neighbor, leaving him a message to lock all of his doors. And when he showed up at the Nickle Insurance Agency with bloody knuckles, he asked to come inside so he could call and meet the police there.
County and State Police responded, and the victim says he told officers his story and provided blood samples for DNA testing.
And then he gave them the fully loaded gun, which he had tucked away under his car seat. The police then discharged the weapon in front of the victim. “And it was loaded up. There were six nice sized bullets in there. I think it was something between a 22 and a 38,” he said.
Both Delaware State Police and New Castle County Police have charged Haglid with multiple offenses related to the “continuous cases.” She is being held at Baylor Correctional Facility on a $135,500 bond.
The charges include:
- Attempted robbery, first degree
- Attempted burglary, first-degree
- Possession or control of a firearm by a person prohibited
- Attempted kidnapping, second degree
- Possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony
- Carrying a concealed deadly weapon
- Wearing a disguise during the commission of a felony
New Castle County Police spokesperson Grigori Lopez-Garcia said suspects prohibited from using a gun would have a prior conviction of some sort.
Lopez-Garcia said that he was unclear at what point during the incident the suspect allegedly committed the attempted kidnapping charge.
The wife of the man who wrestled with Haglid said both she and her husband have thought about the incident every day since last Tuesday. She and the other members of their family consider themselves lucky that her husband survived a crime that could have gone very wrong.
“If somebody pulls up in your driveway in a Volvo, it kind of disarms you,” she said. “You know, you’re not thinking that this might be someone about to commit a crime. She didn’t seem like someone you’re supposed to watch out for.”
The man said he is still on edge. He plans to install a video surveillance camera on their doorbell this week.
“It’s the surprise engagement with somebody that may want to hurt you. And with a young lady like that… You know, if I had let her in my house and took her inside… What would have happened if I did have a gun inside my house and then I pulled the gun and she panicked and shot me in the head? You know what I mean?”
Union Park Volvo confirmed that Haglid presented legitimate identification but that they are now “tightening their screening processes” when customers ask to take a test drive.
Haglid left the pre-owned Volvo close to the showroom. Police found the car the next day at the Boston Market across the street. She did not leave the keys with the vehicle.
Delaware State Police said they have since added theft of a keyfob to their list of charges against the Wilmington woman.