Geezer smacks kid with shopping cart full of stolen beer
storylast updated: 5/20/2005 Boy injured by woman allegedly trying to steal beer
By Kevin Quinn ABC13 Eyewitness News (5/20/05 - BRAZORIA, TX) — A Brazoria woman is under arrest, accused of assaulting a boy with a shopping cart. The five-year-old boy is apparently an innocent victim who was hurt, police say, as a woman tried to rip off several cases of beer from a grocery store.
Investigators say the suspect loaded at least two cases of beer inside a shopping cart this week at Stuart´s grocery store in Brazoria, making a dash toward the door while dragging the cart behind her, not stopping when she ran over little Tyler Russell.
"She looked at him and she saw what she did, and just kept walking out of the store with all the beer," said witness Shannon Chevalier.
Tyler was holding his father´s hand when the cart hit him in the face. Cashier Amber Zavala saw what happened next.
"The ambulance came and he was screaming and crying, ´I don´t want to die. I don´t want to get needles.´ He didn´t really know what was going on," she said.
Doctors later determined the cart caused not only bruises, but also a hairline fracture in the bone below Russell´s right cheek.
"He was freaking out, really freaking out," said Zavala.
The woman with the cart was Hazel Gilliam, 51, a woman with a lengthy criminal history in Brazoria, including convictions for shoplifting and drug use.
As she ran outside, police say Gilliam ran into a truck that was waiting for her. That´s when two eyewitnesses gave chase.
They followed her to a mobile home nearby, where officers later found her hiding inside a closet.
Police say Hazel Gilliam has confessed to the crime. "Some people are desperate for whatever they´re desperate for," said Bubba Fink with Stuarts grocery store.
Gilliam has been charged not with theft, but robbery because Tyler was hurt so badly. Police say she has now confessed to the crime.
"Her comment was she made a mistake. She realized she made a mistake," said Detective Robert Eckert with Brazoria police. "She didn´t realize how serious this was going to be."
Tyler Russell was out of school for two days as his wounds healed, only returning to class on Friday. The worst part, his father says, is that the boy felt the injury was somehow his fault because he said wasn´t watching where he was going.