Shoppers at the Kroger grocery store heard a woman screaming from the bathroom that she was being assaulted. A man allegedly ran out of the bathroom and tried to flee the scene. That’s when marine veteran Damian Austin jumped into action.
“It made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck because it wasn’t a normal yell,” Austin told KFOR.
He said there were a few moments of confusion in the store.
“A lady behind me just said ‘he raped that girl in the bathroom,’ and once she said that there was nothing else for me to do besides go out the door after him,” he explained.
Austin chased the man into the back of the nearby Ace Hardware store where he held him at gunpoint.
“I told him to put his hands in the air. He complied and put them up,” Austin recalled. “I told him to get on the ground, and he tried to say something, and I said: ‘Don’t say a word.'”
The moment was caught on surveillance video which was obtained by KFOR.
Austin said a woman helped by bringing a pack of large zip ties to him from the store.
Police eventually arrested the suspect and identified him as 25-year-old Gregory Hathorne.
To show his appreciation for Austin’s bravery, the Ace Hardware store manager gave him a gift card with $100 on it.
Austin said he was just trying to make his neighborhood more safe.
“I immediately thought, ‘my wife shops here, I have friends whose wives shop here, my son works here,'” said Austin. “So it was just about not letting this person get away after he did what he did.”