(NEW YORK) — Crimes against the elderly are heinous enough to incite the highest caliber of anger, but police say one group of Good Samaritans decided to act on their own when they witnessed a suspect steal a purse from an 84-year-old woman at a Walmart in Bellmead, Tex.
The victim was loading groceries into her car Monday when the suspect, 27-year-old Andre Dawson, snatched her purse, which was sitting in the grocery cart, according to Detective Kory Martin of the Bellmead Police Department.
Cellphone video shows a group of men chasing Dawson and holding him down, while a woman approached the scene with a gun drawn, pointing it toward him, ABC News station KXXV-TV reported.
When Dawson broke free, the woman pointing the gun fired one round over his head, Martin said. He then stumbled to the ground before trying to flee again.
The men detained him until police arrived and the victim’s purse was recovered, Martin said.
The 28-year-old woman who fired the gun left the scene, but she voluntarily went to the Bellmead police station to aid in the investigation and was later released, Martin said. A grand jury will decide if she committed a criminal offense in firing the gun, but no charges have been filed.
While Martin commends the actions of the Good Samaritans, he advises individuals to thoroughly evaluate a situation before deciding to step in and help.
“We won’t ever recommend for people to intervene directly,” he told ABC News. “We want you to help without causing a danger to anyone else and yourself.”
Martin says the best way to help is to provide as many details as possible in a 911 call so officers can arrive to the scene as fast as they can.
Dawson was originally charged with theft under $100, but the charge was upgraded to a Class B misdemeanor due to a previous theft conviction, Martin said. He is also being charged with credit card abuse. Dawson has not yet entered a plea.
No one was injured in the incident, Martin said.
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