by AP Friday, Aug. 02, 2002 at 1:19 PM

********AMBER ALERT*****2 Teenage Girls Abducted at gunpoint in Lancaster, CA

2 Teenage Girls Abducted at Gunpoint

Crime: A man in his mid-30s to early 40s drove away with the girls, ages 16 and 17, in a white Ford Bronco with a gray camper shell.

From Associated Press

August 1 2002, 6:44 AM PDT

LANCASTER -- Two teenage girls were kidnapped at gunpoint early today and taken away in a vehicle that belonged to one of the victims' friends, authorities said.

Tamera Brooks, 16, and Jaqueline Marris, 17, were sitting in separate cars with two male friends when they were approached by a man shortly after 1 a.m. The man forced Tamera out of her vehicle at gunpoint, then approached Jaqueline, who was in a 1980 Ford Bronco, authorities said.

The man, described in his mid-30s to early 40s, tied up one of the friends and sped away in the white Ford Bronco with a gray camper shell with both girls inside, said Sgt. Joe Efflandt of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

The girls apparently did not know each other nor their abductor, Efflandt said.

"He told me he was going to kill me but he didn't want to," an 18-year-old man told KNBC-TV. The teen, who had duct tape on his arms and legs, said he was blindfolded and tied to a post while the kidnapper took away his female friend. "He just kept telling her to stay down, keep her head down, don't look at him."

Efflandt said the man poured gasoline over one of the vehicles, apparently trying to torch it, but was unsuccessful.

Sheriff's investigators also said the man left behind a vehicle that was reported stolen in a carjacking in Nevada. No other details were immediately available.

The remote area where the kidnapping occurred is a place frequented by young people, Capt. Tom Pigott said.

A command post has been set up and sheriff's deputies notified the FBI and the Border Patrol.

"It's a life and death situation," Pigott said. "We're just trying to locate these young girls."

Sheriff's deputies used the "Amber Alert" system, which uses radio and television bulletins to announce that a child may have been abducted. The plan is named for Amber Hagerman, a 9-year-old who in 1996 was kidnapped and later found dead in Arlington, Texas.

Lancaster is 70 miles northeast of Los Angeles.

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Copyright 2002 Los Angeles Times