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Congressional candidate robbed at gunpoint in Florida

By Steve Brusk, CNN
  • Marleine Bastien was robbed before a campaign appearance in North Miami
  • She and her sister, who was with her, were not injured
  • Bastien is one of nine Democrats seeking the seat being vacated by Kendrick Meek

(CNN) -- A candidate in next week's U.S. congressional primary in Florida was robbed at gunpoint Saturday, according to the North Miami Police Department.

Marleine Bastien was robbed as she prepared to speak at a church in a campaign appearance, North Miami police Lt. Neal Cuevas said, four days before a crowded Democratic primary in south Florida's 17th Congressional District.

Bastien was sitting in the driver's seat of a car with her sister when a car pulled up behind them. Cuevas said the suspect approached Bastien's side of the car, pulled a handgun and demanded their purses, saying "I'll blow your heads off."

Neither woman was injured, but the gunman and a getaway driver escaped with both their handbags, including cash, credit cards and personal items.

"We can't say if he knew or targeted Ms. Bastien," Cuevas said.

He said the suspects were believed to have been involved in another robbery a half hour before the incident.

Bastien, the head of the Haitian Women of Miami organization, is one of nine Democrats seeking the House seat being vacated by Rep. Kendrick Meek, who is running for the Senate.

CNN's Chuck Johnston contributed to this report.