Police: Customer Assaults Store Clerk During Altercation Over Part

An employee at a local auto parts store was allegedly assaulted by a customer because the part he wanted wasn’t in stock.

Selma Police said the incident happened at Advance Auto Parts on S. Pollock Street. On Oct. 1st officers were dispatched to the business. Before they arrived the suspect had left but was spotted pulling into the parking lot of a nearby Auto Zone on S. Pollock Street.

According to the 37 year-old Advance Auto employee, a customer came into the store looking for a starter, which was not in stock. That’s when the customer allegedly called the worker a “big fat dumba**” and left the business. The customer returned a second time allegedly calling the African-American employee a “big dumb ni**er.”   The employee said that’s when he began recording the customer, at which time the assault allegedly occurred.

The suspect, James Leroy Lowther, 68, of Princeton allegedly told police the Advance Auto employee didn’t know anything about the item he was looking for and became upset. Lowther claimed the employee started the verbal argument.  Police said Lowther told them he left the store and went to his vehicle and the employee following him outside with a cell phone taking his picture and videoing his truck.   Lowther told police he walked up to the employee and struck his hand and left the scene.

Police said cell phone video from the store employee captured the assault.  Police said the video clearly showed Lowther getting his cane out of his vehicle and raising the cane. Lowther then used his right hand to strike the employee in the arm, knocking the cell phone to the pavement.

Police charged Lowther with simple assault. He was released on a $500 unsecured bond pending a Nov. 7th court appearance.

(A mugshot of the suspect was not available)