*A U.S. Marine veteran who was shopping at a Kroger grocery store in Savannah, GA – and happened to have been carrying a concealed weapon – chased down, subdued and detained a man who had just allegedly raped a woman inside of the store’s bathroom.
At approximately 6:30 p.m. on April 27th, Damian Austin was shopping at the Kroger’s on Ogeechee Road when he heard a woman screaming from inside a bathroom at the store. “It made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck because it wasn’t a normal yell,” he told Savannah’s WSAV, adding, “A lady behind me just said ‘he raped that girl in the bathroom.’ Once she said that, there was nothing else for me to do besides go out the door after him.”
Austin took off after the suspect, reportedly chasing him through the store parking lot and into a grassy area located behind a nearby Ace Hardware store. Austin then pulled out his gun and ordered the man to surrender, saying, “He locked eyes with me and I looked at him and I said, ‘give it up brother, because I’m not. I told him to put his hands in the air. He complied and put them up…I told him to get on the ground, and he tried to say something, and I said: ‘Don’t say a word.’”
Security footage of the incident backed up Austin’s account. Watch below:
As Austin held the suspect at gunpoint, a woman reportedly went inside one of the stores and brought out a package of zip ties to help restrain the suspect until authorities arrived and took him into custody. He was later identified as 25-year-old Gregory Hathorne and charged with felony kidnapping, felony rape, and misdemeanor battery.
According to the female victim involved in the case, she reportedly told investigators that she had never met the suspect prior to the alleged attack inside of the grocery store bathroom.
Chatham County Police Department Chief Jeff Hadley extended sincere accolades for the bravery demonstrated by Austin and others who helped apprehend Hathorne: “I just can’t commend them enough for involving themselves in a dangerous situation obviously, so this person could be held accountable and we could make an arrest so there wasn’t any further danger to the community.”