Bennie Sideboard was surprised to hear that one of the two young men accused of stealing a car early Sunday — the one police believe Sideboard shot in the stomach during the encounter — is only 17.

But the suspect's youth didn't change his opinion.

"He needs to be disciplined, and he needs to go to jail," said Sideboard, 63, who described himself as a retired merchant seaman and proud owner of a concealed-carry permit. "I worked hard all my life for everything I have. He should learn his lesson so he doesn't do this again to anyone else."

Sideboard said he and a friend from out of town were just arriving at his home in the 1000 block of Milan Street about 1:45 a.m. Sunday after a night out when two masked men in dark clothes approached them with guns drawn. 

One of the two allegedly shoved Sideboard to the ground. Sideboard said he managed to swat away the man's gun before going down. Then he pulled out his own weapon and fired several times, striking one of the suspects in the stomach at close range. 

He recalled the man screaming, "Oh, Lord Jesus!"

Both masked men then fled, one of them taking a car that Sideboard's friend had rented. The other hopped into another car that was waiting nearby, holding his stomach as if he had been shot, police said, citing other witnesses.  

Sideboard said he acted purely by instinct. He recounted growing up in the tough Desire housing development and spending many hours at a gun training school in Gretna.

"It happened so fast, but I'm used to bad (stuff) going down," Sideboard said. "Where I'm from, it's kill or get killed."

Court documents released Monday identified two suspects arrested in the case as 17-year-old Andrew Spikes, who police believe was shot by Sideboard, and Jonah Marco, 21, Spikes' alleged getaway driver. 

Spikes turned up wounded at New Orleans East Hospital shortly after the incident, claiming he had accidentally shot himself.

Police say Marco drove Spikes to the hospital, claiming at first that he had picked Spikes up at a Winn-Dixie but later admitting that he had driven Spikes from the Uptown neighborhood where the carjacking occurred. Police allege that Marco told them he had dropped Spikes and a second unidentified man off near St. Charles Avenue before the attack and then picked Spikes up again after he had been shot. 

Marco was booked as an accessory to armed robbery with a firearm, and his bail was set at $10,000.

Spikes was released from the hospital about 10:30 a.m. Sunday and was questioned by investigators. He stuck by his story that he had wounded himself and denied seeing Marco before the shooting, police say. He was booked on armed robbery, with his bail set Monday at $100,000. 

A police statement Monday said investigators suspect they may ultimately link Spikes, Marco and at least one other person to other hold-ups.

About 20 minutes before Sideboard was approached, police said, three men working together stole a 24-year-old man's car at gunpoint at O'Keefe Avenue and Gravier Street in the Central Business District. The victim in that incident was hit in the head with a bottle.

Earlier, about 10:40 p.m. Saturday, two men robbed five Tulane University students at gunpoint in the 900 block of Hillary Street, close to the bars popular with college students and about two miles from where Sideboard and his friend were held up. 

Court records describe Marco telling police that he had dropped Spikes and the other man off at two other spots before leaving them near Sideboard's house. 

Sideboard said he was glad to hear he may have helped police solve more than one robbery case. 

"I think God just showed me the way," Sideboard said. "He showed me I don't have to be a policeman to do the right thing." 

Follow Ramon Antonio Vargas on Twitter, @RVargasAdvocate.

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