Batavia, N.Y.— On Christmas Eve, Batavia resident Rebecca Ball was doing some last minute shopping at the Walmart in Batavia. That’s when she witnessed a customer punching a 70-year-old cashier in the face.
“It was a very big push to the face,” said Ball. “The cashier lady flew across the floor.”
Ball had just entered the Walmart and was close to the front of the store when she heard a commotion at a nearby cash register.
“There were people that were back by in the women’s clothing department that were listening to it,” Ball recalled. “Everyone just stopped in their tracks wondering what was going on. You don't usually hear people screaming like that in the store, and cussing the way they were.”
From what Ball could see, the cashier, 70-year-old Grace Suozzi had asked 26-year-old Jacquetta Simmons and a male companion to show her a receipt for some electronics purchases she had made at the back of the store.
Ball believes the request was completely reasonable.
“[Suozzi] was asking for the receipts because they cashed out in electronics and it's just protocol to show the receipt,” Ball said. “Everyone gets asked.”
According to New York State Police, Simmons refused to show Suozzi the receipt.
“[Simmons] started walking away and the cashier stepped out her box and [Simmons] punched her in the eye,” Ball said. “It was a very big push to the face. The cashier lady flew across the floor.”
Ball said Suozzi looked as if she didn’t weigh much more than 100 pounds, and Simmons appeared to be at least double Suozzi’s size.
“Ms. Suozzi is a very small lady,” Ball said. “The woman who punched her was a very large girl. Very large.”
Ball tended to Suozzi as she laid on the ground, bleeding.
“She was very nervous and was wondering what had happened to her,” Ball said. “She was bleeding very bad, because she had a gash under her eye. She was very confused.”
According to Ball, Simmons and her companion ran out of the store, but customers and Walmart employees chased after them.
“There was no hesitation at all in those customers,” Ball said. “A hundred people, mostly men, ran after them.”
The customers and employees then blocked Simmons’ car so she couldn’t drive away, and waited for police to arrive.
“It was amazing the community just came together and protected this lady,” said Ball. “Everyone knows her because she's worked there for years and is a very nice lady.”
Around Batavia, word has spread about the alleged assault. It has left the community distraught.
“On Christmas Eve a 26-year-old lady punched a 70-year-old woman?” said Batavia resident Clifford Shultz. “It’s kind of shocking that something like this would happen around here. This is a nice residential area. You don't hear about things like this happening around here.”
According to The Democrat and Chronicle, New York State Police say that Simmons had receipts for everything she had in her bag.
“I don't know why someone would react that way if they had nothing to hide,” said Shultz. “Why would someone react like that?”
Simmons has been charged with two counts of assault.
Suozzi was released from the hospital Sunday and is now recovering at home.