Note: we are republishing this story amid the surge in violent crime America is currently facing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
70-year-old P.K. Shader was at a Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, Walmart outlet when she got into a verbal argument with a teenage employee. Shader says that the teen repeatedly punched her in the face, and that no one tried to help her.
She is now encouraging witnesses to step in when they see a similar incident.
Police responded to the outlet at 7 p.m. on July 7 after receiving reports about an elderly woman punched multiple times in the head.
Shader sustained injuries to her head and face, but she did not require immediate medical attention.
The employee, 17-year-old cashier Jazareia Velasquez, attacked Shader after she asked for the manager to report the negative interaction she had with Velasquez. Shader had also tried to take a picture of the teen.
“She went crazy. She flew, and she punched me, fist right here [in the face] over and over again,” Shader said. “I’m never walking into Walmart again, that’s for sure.”
The teen was arrested and charged with aggravated battery to an elderly person and disorderly conduct.
According to Shader, the most surprising part of the incident was that no one stepped in to help her, even though other employees knew of the teen’s temperament.
“What if it was your grandmother? What if it was your mother?... The managers knew she was a loose cannon. The first manager said nothing. The second one told me so. So, why did they keep an employee like that? That’s a bigger problem than not having security,” said Shader.
As she recovers, Shader says that she is urging people to step in and help when they see something like this.
She added: “I just want to tell people: ‘Pull out your phone. Give somebody a break.’ No one’s asking you to dive in and be hurt, but pull out your phone and document it and yell, ‘Call the police.’”
Shader stated that she is planning to file a restraining order against the teen, and that she and her attorney are seeking options to make sure this never happens to anyone else.
Walmart, addressing the incident, said in a statement: “We want all of our customers to have a pleasant shopping experience in our stores. The associate involved has been suspended, and we continue to assist law enforcement in the ongoing investigation.”
Sources: WAFB 9