West Palm Beach, FL – A heroic nine-year-old girl was awarded a medal and certificate last week for bravely fighting off a suspect who attacked her mother in a grocery store parking lot.
The incident occurred as nine-year-old Journee Nelson and her mother, Danielle Mobley, were shopping for groceries on Nov. 2, WSVN reported.
They were out in the store parking lot when a suspect, later identified as 29-year-old Demetrius Jackson, ran over to them and tried to steal Mobley’s purse, according to WNYW.
Security footage showed Jackson as he attacked Mobley on the driver’s side of a vehicle.
“We struggled over the purse. He pushed me down to the ground,” Mobley told WSVN.
She said Jackson threatened to shoot her, WNYW reported.
“You’re going to make me pop you,” he allegedly said as he reached for his waistband.
That’s when Nelson ran around the car and began whaling on the violent attacker, WNYW reported.
The little girl threw ferocious punches and kicked Jackson in the face before he grabbed Mobley’s purse and took off running, according to WSVN.
“I fought back,” Nelson said. “I had to save my mom.”
Mobley said she ultimately let go of her purse with the hope Jackson would just “take off,” WSVN reported.
But Nelson tried to chase him down, running for five blocks before she stopped and headed back to help her mom.
“I wasn’t expecting her to take off after him,” Mobley told WSVN.
Police used Mobley’s stolen cell phone to track the phone’s location to an abandoned residence on 53rd Street, WFLX reported.
They located her purse and other belongings at that location.
Investigators used fingerprints collected from the stolen items to identify Jackson, WFLX reported.
They apprehended him two days after the attack and Nelson and Mobley identified him in a lineup.
Jackson now faces new charges of battery and robbery, WSVN reported.
West Palm Beach police held a special ceremony Nov. 18 to award Nelson with a medal and certificate honoring her for her bravery.
“I wouldn’t recommend that you confront an individual like that but in the heat of the moment things happen,” West Palm Beach Police Chief Frank Adderley said during the ceremony. “I bet he was shocked when she kicked him right in the face because he definitely could tell on the video that he was not expecting that, and her actions were perfect timing in this particular situation, and I think she hit him pretty hard.”
Mobley said she is “very proud” of her daughter’s reaction, but admitted she sometimes wishes “things could be a little different” so her daughter could have been spared from having to deal with the mental and emotional impact of the incident, WSVN reported.