ShareThis Page

Walmart camera catches assault on video

Michael DiVittorio
| Thursday, Dec. 3, 2009

A 72-year-old employee of Wal-Mart in North Versailles Township was hospitalized with broken facial bones and other injuries after being assaulted outside the store.

Thomas Jenkins, of McKeesport, was transported to UPMC McKeesport, then to UPMC Presbyterian for facial surgery, after Paul Washington, 55, of North Versailles Township, allegedly punched Jenkins in the face.

North Versailles Township police Sgt. Vincent DiCenzo said the incident occurred Tuesday at 6:31 p.m. while he was on routine patrol, and was caught by Wal-Mart's video surveillance cameras.

DiCenzo said he saw Jenkins lying on the ground when a van parked near the front doors of the store moved away.

Police Chief James Comunale said the surveillance video shows Jenkins being punched in the face, apparently by a man police later identified as Washington, as Jenkins was walking along the sidewalk while on his break.

"At this point we have no motive why Mr. Washington did what he did," Comunale said.

Jenkins sustained fractures of all the bones on one side of his face, as well as broken dentures and other injuries.

"It was all caught on video," DiCenzo said. "I didn't see the actual punch because a vehicle was blocking my view. As far as we know there's no connection between the two (men). I can honestly say this is bothering me a good bit. The guy's 72 years old, walking up the sidewalk, and he gets nailed."

Washington told police he had been bumped, which is why he punched Jenkins, Comunale said.

Washington was transported to Allegheny County Jail and faces charges of aggravated assault, harassment, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness.

A preliminary hearing before Magisterial District Judge Robert L. Barner is scheduled for Dec. 10. That hearing may be postponed if the victim is unable to attend due to his injuries.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me