Doctor's office visit turns violent

Office building where purse snatching took place
Office building where purse snatching took place
A bullet made this mark on a sidewalk outside the office
A bullet made this mark on a sidewalk outside the office

MEMPHIS, TN - (WMC-TV) – A trip to the doctor's office turned violent in East Memphis, when police say a thief fired a gun during a purse-snatching outside an office building. The 64 year-old victim said the bold crook came out of nowhere, at a moment when she least expected a crime like this to occur.

Witnesses say a faint mark on a concrete sidewalk was caused by a bullet fired from a gun during a purse-snatching Wednesday morning outside an office building on Mt. Moriah near Park.

"I was sitting at my desk and there was a loud boom and the fellow who sits next to me said there's a robbery going on," recalled witness Bill Swanner.

Swanner and others who work in the building say the crook fired the shot while struggling with the 64 year-old victim over her purse.

"It wasn't a Saturday night special I assure you," said Swanner.  "It was a large caliber weapon that was fired."

Police say the man pointed the gun at the woman's head and demanded her purse just before she entered the building for a doctor's appointment.

"And you could see the guy at the door having a tug of war match with the lady," said witness Taryn Burkett.

She saw the crime from the Jack Morris Auto Glass store across the street.

"There's so many buildings you'd think he'd be worried about someone seeing," said Burkett.  "He did not care, did not care at all."

An employee of a nearby Easy-Way Produce told police he saw the thief get away in an awaiting car driven by an accomplice.  They left the shaken victim lying in the parking lot.

"Bless her heart," said Burkett.  "She was out there upset as all get out.It was awful."

"Right here in broad open daylight in this area where people are everywhere," said Swanner.  "I don't understand."

The victim, who did not want to be on TV, told Action News 5 she may never feel safe again.

Police say it is safer to hand over your belongings when threatened with a weapon.  There are only vague descriptions of the purse-snatchers who got away in a white car with tinted rear windows.

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