A homeless teenager walked into a San Jose, California Walmart and allegedly hit a 4-year-old girl over the head with a crowbar Wednesday.
The child is recovering after the scary incident. She was shopping with her dad when 18-year-old Maria Garate, who police say is a transient, walked into the Walmart and struck her.
"For no apparent reason, basically, drew a crowbar that she had carried into the store from her person and struck the child at least twice in the head, causing pretty serious injuries," San Jose Police Lt. Jason Dwyer told ABC7 News.
Garate brandished the crowbar and went in for another strike when the girl’s shocked father stepped in, taking the blow instead.
"This is any parent's worst nightmare," Dwyer said. "The father sees it happening right in front of him, does what any father would try to do, jumps in, tries to stop it, he's struck but is ultimately able to stop the attack."
Garate had no relation to the girl or her family.
The Walmart is located a half-mile away from a homeless encampment known as “The Jungle,” according to the San Jose Mercury News. Garate may be a resident there, officers say. She had had a previous run-in with the law, though police would not confirm why they had contacted her previously.