Dressing room confrontation led to mall escalator assault of elderly man, SAPD says

‘This assault was very nasty, very egregious,’ SAPD Det. Rodney Franklin says

SAN ANTONIO – A confrontation between a female and an elderly man at a retail store dressing room likely led to an escalator attack that was caught on camera, a detective with the San Antonio Police Department said.

SAPD Det. Rodney Franklin told reporters Thursday that the man, 81, was shopping with his wife at Dillard’s at North Star Mall on Jan. 27 when he went to a dressing room to try on a sweater.

The elderly man tried to open one of the doors to a dressing room, thinking it was empty. But a female was inside the room and slammed the door shut, Franklin said.

Moments later, a confrontation between the two ensued.

“They yelled that it was a female changing room. He yelled back, ‘No, it’s a handicapped- changing room,’” Franklin said.

The elderly man double-checked and verified that it was a changing room for handicapped people, Franklin said. He then went to another changing room that was empty.

The female in the changing room went to find her parents to tell them what happened.

A man, believed to be the female’s father, searched for the elderly man until he located him at an escalator. The surveillance video showed the man yanking the victim from behind. The victim fell backward, landing on the moving metal stairs.

The victim suffered some “extensive injuries” on his head, mostly lacerations from falling on the escalator, Franklin said. He also suffered a lot of bruising on his arms, ribs, legs and a broken finger. The victim is recovering at home.

The female and the couple then left the store. They never called police to report the changing room incident, Franklin said.

“No assault happened in the changing room as far as we know. We don’t know exactly what happened. What I need to know is their perspective. I need to know if an assault happened. If something happened in that changing room, I need to know what happened, Franklin said.”

The detective said they could call SAPD or come in to tell their side of the story. Franklin said that no arrests would be made following the interview. But he did mention that a charge of injury to elderly - serious bodily injury, will be filed if an arrest is made.

Franklin asked that if anyone recognizes the man or woman in the video to call him at 210-207-2790.

“This assault was very nasty, very egregious, and it should make everybody have this pretty nasty feeling in their stomach. So, when you look at this video, think of your own grandparents. Think about how you would feel about that,” Franklin said.

About the Authors

David Ibañez has been managing editor of KSAT.com since the website's launch in October 2000.

Katrina Webber joined KSAT 12 in December 2009. She reports for Good Morning San Antonio. Katrina was born and raised in Queens, NY, but after living in Gulf Coast states for the past decade, she feels right at home in Texas. It's not unusual to find her singing karaoke or leading a song with her church choir when she's not on-air.

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