LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - The suspected shoplifter accused of stabbing a Walmart employee who tried to prevent him from leaving the store was detained by a Good Samaritan, Las Cruces Police said.
James Lawrence, 43, of the 800 block of North 17th Street, is charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and a misdemeanor count of shoplifting.
Police were dispatched to the report of a stabbing at the Walmart located at 1550 S. Valley Drive shortly after 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 20, 2019. Officers arrived to find that the suspect, identified as Lawrence, was detained in the parking lot by a customer who witnessed part of the incident.
Investigators learned a Walmart employee tried to detain Lawrence, suspected of stealing hatchets, knives, machetes, gloves, a hat and other items that, altogether, were valued at less than $250. Police said Lawrence stabbed the Walmart employee on the leg. The employee was transported to a local hospital and is expected to recover, police said.
The employee told police he saw Lawrence run toward the store exit and tried to prevent Lawrence from leaving the store when the stabbing occurred in the vestibule near the north entrance. After stabbing the employee, Lawrence reportedly fled into the parking lot and was physically detained by the customer.
Lawrence was booked into the Dona Ana County Detention Center where he is initially being held without bond.