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US marine veteran, carrying a concealed weapon, chases down alleged rapist at grocery store

A U.S. Marine veteran, who was carrying a concealed weapon, chased down an alleged rapist at a grocery store on April 27th

According to CBS 42, on April 27th, Damian Austin was shopping at a Savannah, Georgia Kroger grocery store when he heard a woman screaming from inside the store’s bathroom. Austin noted that, “it made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck because it wasn’t a normal yell.” While the atmosphere of the store was slightly hectic, the lady behind him said, “he raped that girl in the bathroom.” After chasing him through the store parking lot and a grassy area behind Ace Hardware store, Austin was able to pull out his weapon and get the suspect to surrender. The two men made eye contact and Austin told him, “give it up brother, because I’m not.”

From there, Austin was able to get the man on the ground, and a woman brought him zip ties to help restrain the man while they waited for law enforcement to arrive. When asked what motivated Austin to involve himself in such a dangerous and important situation, Austin shared that “my wife shops here, I have friends whose wives shop here, my son works here. So, it was just about not letting this person get away after he did what he did.” Authorities have identified the suspect as 25-year-old Gregory Hathorne, and he has been charged with felony kidnapping, felony rape, and misdemeanor battery (WTOC). 

Chatham County Police Department Chief Jeff Hadley extended sincere gratitude for the bravery that Austin and others displayed while apprehending 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.” The Ace Hardware manager gave Austin a $100 gift card to express their appreciation for what he did. Savannah residents have labeled Austin a hero. Austin’s response is appreciation for the way other people worked with him to take down the suspect, saying “there are people who still care, and they’ll act in time of need.” According to WTOC, Austin said to the family of the young lady and to the young lady: “I want to offer my sincerest most heartfelt prayers to you and your family. Just know that there are guardian angels out there, there are people who do care.” 

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ARTICLE: KATE SCHLESSELMAN

POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: KLFY

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