Local News

Good Samaritan: 'We just stopped to help'

Posted May 13, 2010 3:57 p.m. EDT
Updated May 13, 2010 7:55 p.m. EDT

— One of two brothers who foiled an apparent kidnapping Wednesday in downtown Chapel Hill said Thursday that he doesn't consider himself a hero.

Joey Shelton said he and his brother, Freddie, were running errands when they saw a man grab a woman who was jogging along Columbia Street. The man was dragging her to a car in the parking lot behind the RBC Bank at 101 E. Rosemary St.

Shelton said he initially thought it was a domestic situation, but the woman's terrified expression convinced him she didn't know the man.

"It was just wrong the way he was handling her," he said. "He had already had her on the ground dragging her.”

Shelton backed his car up and blocked the man's exit from the parking lot, and he said the man then let the woman go and tried to drive off.

"He just floored it (and) hit me," he said. "I ended up on top of the car (and) busted the windshield. Next thing I know, I was in the street – rolling, rolling, rolling – and he kept going."

The brothers noted the license number of the car, and police traced it to Theodore James Walker, who was arrested about two hours after the kidnapping attempt.

Walker, 26, of 108 Timber Hollow Court in Chapel Hill, is charged with second-degree kidnapping, assault on a female and assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. He was being held Thursday in the Orange County jail under a $5 million bond.

Investigators found a loaded shotgun and a baseball bat in Walker's car, Assistant Orange County District Attorney Morgan Whitney said Thursday.

Shelton said he's glad Walker didn't have the chance to use the weapons on the woman or him and his brother. His only injuries were scrapes on his left arm and shoulder from landing on the ground after rolling off the hood of the fleeing car.

"I just knew I wanted the officers to get the guy that was trying to mess with this woman. That’s it. Nothing more," he said. "There wasn’t any thought. It was wrong, and we just stopped to help the lady, plain and simple."

The woman, who a WRAL source said is a student at the University of North Carolina, escaped unharmed other than being doused with pepper spray during the incident. She called Shelton Thursday morning to thank him and his brother for their help.

She told Shelton that Thursday was her 19th birthday.

"It’s a blessing that she survived and she has plenty more birthdays to come,” he said. "She’s happy, she’s with her mom and she’s fine, and that’s all that matters.”