Kroger employee stabbed confronting accused shoplifter

SOUTH FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — A Kroger worker was choked and stabbed after he confronted a shoplifter at a store on Cascade Road.

"I said, ‘Look guy, it's the day before Thanksgiving. No one wants to go to jail. Just put the bag down and you can go.’ He grabs me by the neck and proceeds to push me out the door,” said employee Derrick Turner.

Turner, a loss prevention officer, spotted a man putting grocery items into a backpack. The man, who was captured on security camera video, is seen buying a loaf of bread at a self-checkout lane. As he leaves the store, the employee confronts him.

"I told him I just need the merchandise back. He then starts to squeeze my neck. I take my hands and push his arms off my neck. That's when I felt him hit me under my arm and the side of my chest," said Turner.

Turner, who spoke to Channel 2's Tom Regan by phone from Grady Memorial Hospital, said he didn't immediately realize that he had been stabbed. But then he saw a large knife in his assailant’s hand as he ran away.

"The paramedics arrived and sure enough, I was bleeding out of the left side of my chest," Turner said.

Fulton County police say they hope someone will recognize the violent shoplifter and contact them immediately.

"If he's going to do this that easy, then more than likely he's done it in the past and he could do it again. It's very important that we identify him," said Fulton County Police Detective Melissa Parker.

Doctors told the employee that one stab wound came within inches of an artery.

Turner said he'd like his assailant to know that what he did was unnecessary.

"I have a family. I'm just doing my job and you had the opportunity to leave without having to hurt somebody,” said Turner.

The employee said his prognosis is good, and he may be able to leave Grady Memorial Hospital early next week.