Elderly man, employee attacked at ETX grocery store; suspect in custody
Gerardo Bastida. (Source: Smith County Jail)
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -
Surveillance video shows an East Texas man attacking another man with a crutch.
The incident happened around noon on Sunday at the Super Monterey grocery store off of SSW Loop 323 in Tyler.
Police say the suspect also attacked a second man with a box cutter.
The store manager says the incident started outside between a customer and a frequent panhandler.
"Evidently they knew each other, they exchanged words, and somehow or another the gentleman came into the store," says Mike Inurrigarro, a manager at Super Monterey.
"The suspect apparently took one of the crutches from the victim and started to assault him with the crutch," says Sergeant Matthew Leigeber with the Tyler Police Department.
Store employees say the suspect chased the first victim into a restaurant section of the store. They say the suspect started grabbing chairs so the employees decided to get involved.
"The employees of the store tried to intervene and break the fight up and in the process of trying to break the fight up the suspect produced a box cutter and cut one of the employees several times in the leg," Sgt. Leigeber says.
Inurrigarro says no employees were seriously hurt and he is glad they took action, "I'm proud of them for the work they do and everything else watching out for the customers here."
A store employee says he and several others held the suspect down in the corner of the store for about ten minutes.
"When the officers arrived they had the suspect detained on the ground and so we didn't have any problems making the arrest," Sgt. Leigeber says.
Inurrigarro says the panhandler caused problems with customers outside the store before, but nothing violent until now.
46-year-old Gerardo Bastida is in the Smith County Jail charged with two counts of aggravated assault.
The two victims in the incident were taken to ETMC with non-life threatening injuries.