OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - Police are investigating after a woman said a man tried choking her 4-month-old baby in the checkout lane of an Overland Park Walmart.
Authorities said the incident occurred around 7:20 a.m. Wednesday at the Walmart near 75th Street and Frontage Road.
According to officials, Oleh Zhownirovych approached the mother and child in the checkout lane. He then grabbed the baby out of the cart and tried to steal the child. A fight ensued, and Zhownirovych began choking the infant until the baby turned red.
Bystanders were able to subdue the suspect and held him until police arrived.
Elliott Hurst was almost done with his overnight shift at Walmart when he heard cries for help coming from the front of the store.
“Some of the associates were up there and they were hollering, ‘He got the baby, he is choking the baby,’ so me and the security guard went up there and tried to get control of the situation,” Hurst told 41 Action News over the phone.
Hurst said the security guard got the suspect’s hands off the baby while he grabbed the car seat.
“I don’t believe I done anything different than what my parents or my brother would have done,” Hurst said. “That’s the way I was raised.”
Police said the mother did not know Zhownirovych and that he may have been under the influence.
The infant was treated at the scene and is expected to be fine. Zhownirovych remains in police custody.
Police offered some advice if you find yourself in a similar situation.
"The first thing I would want someone to do is to scream for help. The more people around, the more people see what's going on. They can probably aid or assist you," said John Lacey with the Overland Park Police Department.
Walmart released the following statement:
“Our main concern right now is for our customer and her child. We’re appalled this happened in our store and we’re working with police to make sure they have all the information they need.”
Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Overland Park Police Department at 913-895-6300.