Damian Austin, a former Marine of the United States, was shopping at a Kroger store located in Savannah, Georgia on a evening when he heard a woman’s cries that stopped him in his tracks. He mentioned that it wasn’t a typical shout, and it made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up.
After several customers heard a woman’s cries apparently coming from the restroom, confusion filled the store for a moment. It was then realized that a sexual assault had taken place inside the grocery store restroom after a man had followed the woman inside. The accused had fled the scene after running out of the bathroom.
Without hesitation, Damian Austin took action. When a woman behind him shouted that the man had raped the girl in the restroom, the Marine veteran ran out of the door after the accused. According to Austin, there was nothing else for him to do. Despite the situation, the Marine chased the accused into the parking lot.
Damian Austin successfully captured the suspect, identified as 25-year-old Gregory Hathorne, at the back of a nearby Ace Hardware store, where he then commanded him to lie down on the ground and held him at gunpoint until the authorities arrived. The entire incident was recorded on security cameras, including the moment when Austin brought Hathorne to the ground.
According to Damian Austin, he told Hathorne to raise his hands in the air and the accused complied. Austin then ordered him to get on the ground and when Hathorne attempted to say something, Austin told him to stay quiet. While holding Hathorne down, a woman helped Austin by bringing a bag of large zip ties from the store.
According to Austin, the woman came back from the store with a pack of large zip ties a minute later, and she handed him a few. He continued to hold Hathorne down, ensuring that he did not move. Shortly after, officers from the Chatham County Police Department arrived and arrested Hathorne. He was charged with felony rape, felony abduction, and misdemeanor violence, and he was taken to the Chatham County Detention Center.
Damian Austin’s bravery in pursuing the rape suspect has earned him recognition as a hero. The manager of the Ace Hardware store showed his gratitude by presenting Austin with a $100 gift card, but Austin emphasized that he didn’t do it for the reward. His only intention was to make his community a safer place.
Chief Jeff Hadley and Doris Williams, the director of the Coastal Empire Rape Crisis Center, both commended Damian Austin for taking action instead of merely recording the chaos. They expressed gratitude towards those individuals who intervened, as it required a lot of courage to do so. While many people stand around recording things with their phones, they never step in, Chief Hadley remarked.
Doris Williams shared a similar view, saying that it is great that bystanders stepped in. Williams explained that in today’s world, people tend to record things instead of calling 911. By displaying incredible bravery, Austin fulfilled his goal and reminded rape survivors that help is available when needed. Williams added that she hopes others would also come together and respond to assist survivors in any crisis.
Thanks to the Second Amendment, Damian Austin achieved his goal. As he pointed his gun at the suspect, the alleged rapist fell to the ground, and Austin held him until the police arrived. A kind person with a gun took a suspected rapist off the streets. It is a tragic tale, but fortunately, it concludes on a brighter note than it otherwise might have. Thanks to a courageous Marine, the accused will face the consequences of his actions rather than getting away with a horrific crime. Sir, you did an excellent job.