Man violently attacks 16-year-old Walmart employee for asking child to wear a mask

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NORTH SMITHFIELD – Police are looking for a man who reportedly punched and choked a teenaged worker at the Dowling Village Walmart on Tuesday, April 20 for asking his son to wear a face covering.

The incident took place around 7 p.m. at the North Smithfield store after the 16-year-old victim asked an adult male customer to put a mask on his child.

According to victim Hunter Shaw of Cumberland, he was stocking the toy section in the store when he calmly asked the father to put a face covering on the child. The man reportedly responded by attacking Shaw, first grabbing his throat, and then throwing him into store shelves. Another customer eventually intervened on behalf of the young worker and pushed the aggressor away.

“I was attempting to get the parents to put a mask on the child when the adult male decided to choke me and punch me in the face,” Shaw explained.

The suspect is described as a Hispanic male with several tattoos on his face, including a cross on his forehead, between 5’9 and 5’10 feet tall. The man and his son – estimated to be around 3-years-old – reportedly left the store in a grey Subaru hatch. Police are still reviewing possible video footage from the incident.

Shaw said he was shaken by the attack and may have a minor concussion from being struck, but is otherwise ok.

His father, Robert Shaw of Cumberland, also wants justice.

“I am so mad he had to experience this,” Robert Shaw said.

Anyone with information about the incident or identity of the suspect is asked to call the North Smithfield Police Department at (401) 762-1212.

NRI NOW has requested a report from the incident and will update this news story if more information becomes available. 

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