**Editor’s note: Police and local news outlets have confirmed the date on the surveillance camera recording is incorrect. The incident did actually take place last week, not in 2010.
Late last week, surveillance cameras captured an absolutely senseless and vicious attack on a mother and daughter who run a to-go restaurant in Baxley, Georgia. The video of the assault went viral, and police are still coming to terms with the sheer brutality of the attack.
But this story has a silver lining that many have overlooked. In the midst of Thursday’s tragedy, local patrons who rallied to comfort and support to the victims emerged as the true protagonists.
Just after 3 p.m. last Thursday, a couple ordered two meals at the Qwik Chik takeout stand. When their food arrived, they complained that their chicken was too cold and that they didn’t get enough fries, WTOC-TV reported.
After the female owner checked the food and discussed the complaint with the couple, the female customer began attacking her, slapping and punching her in the face. Shortly after this happened, the owner’s 15-year-old daughter, who witnessed the attack, exited the food truck and was punched by the male customer. The blow knocked her to the ground.
Local police are still grappling with the sheer brutality of what they’ve deemed a “completely unprovoked” attack.
“I’ve been here, what, 41 years – 30 of them as chief. I have never seen anything like this. I’ve never heard of anything like this,” Baxley Police Chief James Godfrey told WTOC.
— WTOC Dal Cannady (@wtocdalcannady) June 23, 2017
“When you leave veteran lawmen speechless, you’ve reached a new low,” notes WTOC reporter Dal Cannady.
Following the attack, EMS arrived, and the mother and daughter received medical treatment for their injuries. The mother suffered a broken nose and a bruised face, and the daughter suffered bruises and a concussion.
“The security camera footage that we put out tells it all. That’s just pure brutality,” said Chief Godfrey.
For Jeanette Norris, the mother and owner Qwik Chik, the attack still doesn’t make sense. Though she’s encountered irritable customers in the past, she described the level of aggression Thursday as unprecedented.
After speaking to the suspects for a few minutes, Norris refunded their money. But then something snapped.
“She went beserk. They both lost it, him and her both; started cussing and beating on the window,” Jeanette Norris told WTOC.
Norris exited the truck to tell the couple that police were on their way. That’s when she says the female suspect started assaulting her.
As Norris staggered back into the truck, she didn’t see her daughter exiting to help. That’s when an employee witnessed the male suspect punch the teen.
“One of my employees yelled, ‘He’s got her,’ and that’s when I realized he had hit her,” Norris said. “Who does that? Who punches a child like she’s a grown man standing there? He needs putting under the jail.”
Surveillance footage shows that shortly after the 15-year-old was hit, two female customers — one of them wearing a Walmart uniform — exited their vehicle to comfort the girl. In the video, the Walmart employee can be seen hugging and rocking the young victim while the other customer appears to be calling for help. As of Tuesday, the kindhearted strangers have not been identified.
In the wake of the traumatic assault, Baxley residents have gone out of their way to show their support for the Norris family, leaving encouraging voicemail messages and lining up to patronize their business.
Customers line up to support Baxley business after assault video goes viral. pic.twitter.com/S24krY5zSO
— WTOC Dal Cannady (@wtocdalcannady) June 26, 2017
“You hear the old saying, ‘people don’t want to get involved.’ They got involved,” Norris said. “Between Facebook, social media, and you guys at WTOC, it has been amazing, the response we have gotten from people.”
After authorities released surveillance footage of the horrific incident, calls from concerned viewers poured in to the Baxley Police Department. Based on information gathered so far, police are looking for suspects Nathaniel Eric Smith and Latasha M. Smith, who have unrelated active warrants for aggravated battery and cruelty to children.
A $2,000 reward is being offered for information leading to their arrests.