Man reportedly drops child during shoplifting attempt

John Thompson • Sep 20, 2012 at 8:49 AM

ELIZABETHTON — A man suspected of shoplifting a pair of tennis shoes dropped a 5-year-old boy on a concrete floor and abandoned him at Walmart over the weekend while he was being pursued by security officers.

Jonathan L. Chapman, 29, 282 Spice Hollow Road, Lot 2, was arrested in the store’s parking lot on charges of child abuse and shoplifting. The child’s father, Thomas Wilson, said he had asked Chapman to watch the boy while he went to look for the child’s mother inside the store. Wilson said his son has Down Syndrome.

Elizabethton Police Officer Joe Holsclaw said he was dispatched to Walmart at 7 p.m. Friday on a call about a man throwing a child on the floor while running from loss prevention officer Scott Elliott.

When Holsclaw arrived, he spoke with Elliott about the incident. Elliott told him he saw Chapman take a pair of tennis shoes and attempt to leave the store. When Elliott identified himself as a security officer, he said Chapman grabbed the child out of the shopping cart. He then put the boy on the floor, holding on to his arm. He said Chapman then began dragging the boy through the front of the store in the area behind the cash registers.

After dragging the boy, the security guard said Chapman didn’t have a good grasp on the boy’s arm, so he put him down and got a better grip. Then he continued dragging the boy for several more feet. Elliott said Chapman finally slung the boy up in the air, but the boy then fell hard onto the concrete floor.

Police officers began searching the parking lot for Chapman and Holsclaw said they found him lying down in the front seat of his car. Holsclaw said he still had the tennis shoes in his possession.

Holsclaw said he reviewed the security camera video of the incident from the time when the security officer identified himself to Chapman through the scenes where he allegedly dragged the child and tossed him.

Chapman is scheduled to answer the charges in Sessions Court on Nov. 30.

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