STOCKTON -- What started off as a normal Thursday afternoon for employees working at a Stockton shopping plaza - quickly changed in the blink of an eye.
“I see an older lady walking by and then the gentleman snatches her purse, she hits the ground,” said Penny Mims.
Mims has worked at Catherine’s Clothing store for nearly a decade. When she witnessed the attack, the longtime employee didn’t just stand by and watch; she followed her natural instinct - jumping in to help the 84-year-old victim.
“I turn around and see she was bleeding, on the phone with 911 and the ambulance service walked us through step by step, to stop the blood and keep the pressure,” Mims explained.
Stockton police say they received several 911 calls about the robbery.
They say the suspect, identified as 30-year-old Brandon Murray, grabbed the victim’s purse before aggressively pulling her to the ground.
“I yelled at the guy, ‘why did you do this,’” Mims said.
But others nearby also jumped in to help.
A UPS Inc. driver inside the store chased the suspect across the street to a neighboring shopping plaza - where two security guards on duty helped detain the suspect until police arrived.
“Once again we want to thank our community for stepping up to the plate and the good Samaritans for getting involved,” said Joe Silva with Stockton police.
“We care about her, you don’t have to be family by blood, but we are going to take care of you until we can’t do anything else,” Mims said.
While Mims says she’s happy the suspect was taken into custody, if she had to do it all over again, she wouldn’t hesitate to help someone else in need.
“I’m a Christian and we are supposed to take care of each other, our brothers and sisters and not leave them hanging,” she said.
The victim is still in the hospital recovering from several fractures and bruises, according to authorities.
Murray faces charges for robbery, elder abuse and resisting arrest.