What started as a good-deed ended in chaotic violence, Tuesday, when a sheriff’s deputy was attacked by the homeless man he’d attempted to help. And if it weren’t for the actions of an armed citizen, a woman who watched the scene unfold, the incident might have had a very different outcome.
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The incident occurred in Dawson County, Georgia. 52-year-old Sgt. Randy Harkness had picked up a homeless man and given him a ride to a local gas station. Once the pair arrived, Harkness gave the man some money.
“He then began to give the gentleman some money,” Sheriff Jeff Johnson explained to media, “just to help him out and the suspect began to physically assault him.”
A woman in a car at the gas station saw the assault. Harkness was unable to get the man off of him, so the woman got out of her car to help. She was armed and shot at the homeless man.
“She shot off, a round. The guy got off the police officer and she shot another round and he was running that way I think, there was three shots,” Aseem Kahn, owner of the station, told Fox. “It could have been worse, mate, thank you for that lady who was carrying,” said Kahn.
The man was hit with one bullet, at least, and then he ran across the street and attacked a woman at a McDonald’s.
Sharon Cheek, a manager at the McDonald’s, said the man seemed to be trying to steal the woman’s car. “He told her, looked at her, and told her she was dead, and then punched her square in the nose… 75 years [old] there was no sense,” said Cheek.
A customer from the McDonald’s came to the woman’s aid.
“Punched him, then got him on the ground and started beating him he was holding him down ‘til the cops got here,” said Cheek.
The man who restrained the attacker and the woman who shot him are both avoiding the media spotlight.
“They are the heroes because they kept him from injuring anybody else,” said Cheek.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Dawson County District Attorney’s Office are both investigating. At issue are the shots the woman may have fired as the suspect fled, which would arguably stretch the definition of self-defense.
“I truly believe she’s a hero. I believe she, thankfully, saved this officer’s life,” said Sheriff Johnson.
Sgt. Harkness, who has been with the Department 24-years, has been released from the hospital. The man who was shot is expected to face a host of charges.