Marine Veteran Confronts Alleged Kroger Bathroom Rapist

A Marine veteran found himself inside a Kroger store in Savannah, Georgia when his attention was abruptly captured by a distressing scream and a woman’s panicked voice disclosing a rape incident in the store’s restroom. This pivotal moment prompted the veteran, Damian Austin, to immediately spring into action, an act that was fully captured by the surveillance cameras.

The Kroger located at 5720 Ogeechee Road in Savannah, Georgia, where the incident began. (Photo Credit: Google Maps)

The unsettling screams resonated not only with Austin but also with other shoppers who were momentarily bewildered by the commotion originating from the restroom. However, it soon became evident to everyone present that an unimaginable crime had just taken place. Allegedly, a man had followed a woman into the grocery store restroom and sexually assaulted her before hastily fleeing the scene, as reported by The Blaze.

In response to the shocking revelation from a fellow shopper that the girl had been raped in the bathroom, Austin felt compelled to pursue the suspect. Without hesitation, he swiftly exited the store, embarking on a pursuit that defied the instinct to flee in the face of danger. The former Marine valiantly chased the perpetrator across the parking lot.

Damian Austin (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

After a relentless chase, Austin successfully caught up with the individual identified as Gregory Hathorne, a 25-year-old man. The culmination of this pursuit occurred at the back of a nearby Ace Hardware store, where Austin promptly commanded Hathorne to lie on the ground, holding him at gunpoint. The entire incident was captured on security footage obtained by WSAV.

Recalling the encounter, Damian Austin recounted, “I told him to put his hands in the air. He complied and put them up. I told him to get on the ground, and he tried to say something, and I said, ‘Don’t say a word.'” Demonstrating his resolve, Austin maintained his vigilance, ensuring the suspect remained subdued. During this critical moment, a compassionate woman from the vicinity lent a helping hand by providing Austin with a pack of large zip ties.

After alerting the Chatham County Police Department, officers promptly arrived at the scene, placed Gregory Hathorne in handcuffs, and took him into custody. Hathorne faced charges of felony rape, felony kidnapping, and misdemeanor battery and was subsequently held at the Chatham County Detention Center.

Gregory Hathorne (Photo Credit: Police)

Austin’s remarkable actions earned him widespread recognition as a hero. The manager of the Ace Hardware store, in a gesture of appreciation, presented him with a $100 store gift card. However, Austin was swift to dismiss personal accolades, emphasizing that his motivation was solely to enhance the safety of his neighborhood.

Chief Jeff Hadley and Doris Williams, director of the Rape Crisis Center of the Coastal Empire, commended Damian Austin for his courageous intervention. They expressed gratitude for citizens like him who choose to take action rather than simply record incidents, as is often the case nowadays. Chief Hadley emphasized the rarity of such bravery in the face of adversity, as many individuals opt to remain passive bystanders.

Doris Williams expressed similar sentiments, emphasizing the importance of bystanders taking immediate action rather than prioritizing recording incidents. She highlighted the prevailing trend where people tend to reach for their cameras before calling emergency services. In contrast, Austin’s remarkable bravery served as a powerful reminder to survivors of rape that support is available when they need it. Williams expressed her hope that others would follow Austin’s example and rally to support survivors in any given situation.

Rather than pulling out a phone to record the chaos, the brave Marine veteran chased the suspect down and then held him at gunpoint. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

Austin’s successful intervention was facilitated by the protections afforded by the Second Amendment. With his firearm aimed at the suspect, he was able to swiftly subdue the alleged rapist, ensuring his detainment until law enforcement arrived. The presence of a responsible individual armed with a firearm played a vital role in removing an accused rapist from the streets. While the story is undoubtedly tragic, it is fortunate that it concluded with a more positive outcome than it might have otherwise. The suspect will now face the consequences of his actions instead of evading justice for his reprehensible crime, all thanks to the heroic actions of Damian Austin. His commendable performance deserves recognition and praise.

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