Police: Man arrested after unprovoked attack
by Kellen Short
The police department received a call just before 8 p.m. Monday of an assault in progress at the store, located at 200 Watauga Village Drive.
When officers arrived about three minutes later, they located the suspect, 21-year-old Diogenes Gabriel Morales, in the parking lot. Morales began walking away from officers and would not heed their commands to stop, according to police. Officers deployed a Taser and took him into custody as he headed back toward the store, said Sgt. Shane Robbins.
Police said Morales created a disturbance in the store by jumping into a merchandise bin before approaching a 70-year-old male shopper and striking him in the face, causing injury. Robbins said the victim did not need medical attention.
The assault was captured on video surveillance, police said.
Morales is a junior at Appalachian State University studying criminal justice, according to the university directory.
"ASU students are such a big part of this community, and this type of behavior is uncharacteristic," said Chief Dana Crawford in a statement. "We are shocked that a 21-year-old ASU student would do such a thing. We are currently working with university officials to address this problem and to determine the motivation behind this attack."
Robbins said the suspect told officers that he had consumed a controlled substance, but police are still trying to determine why he acted as he did.
Morales was charged with simple physical assault and resisting arrest, according to police. He was issued a $1,250 secured bond and is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 19.