ERWIN, N.C. (WNCN) — Police in Harnett County say an assault that put a woman in the hospital could have been much worse if a good Samaritan had not stepped in to help.
Saturday at 5:20 p.m. Charles Branham was sitting in his car in the parking lot of the Erwin Dollar General waiting for his wife to finish up shopping.
“All of a sudden I heard a loud voice holler, ‘Please, help, help! Call the police, help!” recounted Branham.
Branham says he saw a man wielding a tire iron standing over a woman who was lying on the ground.
“He was fixing to strike her. Well I jumped out of the car and when I jumped out of the car I ran towards him and he ran. He seen me coming,” he said.
Branham says the man took off around the back of the Dollar General. Police have not been able to locate him since.
“If he had a getaway car or what, I don’t know. But by the time I got to the corner of the building, he was gone. He was disappeared,” said Branham.
He got away with the woman’s purse, and injured the 70-year-old in the process.
“She did sustain substantial injuries and has been in the hospital since Saturday,” said Erwin Police Chief William Morris.
Chief Morris says this kind of thing just doesn’t happen in Erwin, and he’s happy to have citizens that don’t stand for it.
“We’re certainly thankful that suspect left when he did because it could have been much, much worse,” said Morris.
And as for the suspect still on the run, both the Chief of Police and Erwin’s good Samaritan have a message for him.
“He needs to turn himself in. He made a bad decision. Thankfully nobody has been killed. Him avoiding apprehension is just making things worse,” said Morris.
“I’ll tell you that you’re going to answer to the good man up above in the end. And I wouldn’t want to have to answer to him after doing something like that,” said Branham.
There is also a $1,000 reward for any information that leads to an arrest in the case. Contact the Erwin Police Department if you can help.